Three minutes is a lifetime in a boxing ring. The fighters on this list endured what must have felt like an eternity of pain and exertion just to get one minute of reprieve. Others stared down defeat and came back from the brink. Below are our choices for the most thrilling rounds of 2018.
8. CHARLES MARTIN VS. ADAM KOWNACKI, ROUND 10
Charles Martin didn’t get the victory against Adam Kownacki, but the former title-holder may have finally shaken the stigma from his lopsided defeat to Anthony Joshua in 2017. Martin showed toughness and heart staying upright from Kowmacki’s hellacious bombs, who himself showed inhuman durability shaking off flush head shots.
It was insane to see these two large heavyweights bombing on each other like this in the final round.
7. ROMERO DUNO VS. GILBERTO GONZALEZ, ROUND 6
Gonzalez went all-in looking for a knockout until a well-placed body shot turned the tide back in Duno’s favor. Both showed excellent poise in the weathering the storm of each other’s frenetic assaults.
6. SOR RUNGVISAI VS. JUAN FRANCISCO ESTRADA, ROUND 12
Going toe to toe with Sor Rungvisai is suicide for most super flyweights. But “El Gallo” is another animal, and he figured out in the second half how to step around, punch with and counter Rungvisai without giving ground. It may for an exciting finish and a rematch I pray happens in 2019.
5. ALEX SAUCEDO VS. LENNY ZAPPAVIGNA, ROUND 4
If you love literal blood n guts, look no further than this bloodbath. Saucedo had just put down Zappavigna in round 3. Round 4 saw Lenny Z rocked Saucedo with an overhand right and left hook. Cuts had both draped in blood as they exchanged over the final minute-plus. Beautiful violence.
4. SHO KIMURA VS. KOSEI TANAKA, ROUNDS 2 AND 12
Spoiler alert — you’ll be seeing this war again on the Fight of the Year list. This one was so great I had to select two rounds. Round two displays the precision punching of both while the 12th, with both battered and exhausted, show their heart in willing themselves to the finish line. That 12th also shows how evenly matched they are as there’s a sequence where they simultaneously hit each other with three right hands.
3. AKIRA YAEGASHI VS. HIROFUMI MUKAI, ROUND 6
Yaegashi’s P4P days are behind him, but the former minimumweight and flyweight champion remains an all-action fighter. The southpaw Mukai had Yaegashi dead to rights after stinging him with a straight left with 1:30 left. But Yaegashi would storm back in the last 30 seconds to nearly stop Mukai. Yaegashi would make good on that momentum and close out Mukai in the seventh.
2. TYSON FURY VS. DEONTAY WILDER, ROUND 12
For such a great moment, it’s a damn shame that you can’t find the full round easily. Credit to referee Jack Reiss for giving Fury the chance to beat the count. Credit to Fury for not running and fighting back to close out the round. And finally, kudos to Wilder for showing his power remains deadly for an entire 12-round fight.
Bring on the rematch…
- JARRETT HURD VS. ERISLANDY LARA, ROUND 12
*Sigh* yet another great round that’s now mysteriously absent from Youtube (what gives, Showtime???).
This fight was razor-thin close headed into the final stanza. Hurd had been the aggressor with a higher punch output and effective body work. Lara had the more eye-catching work with his counter southpaws lefts snapping Hurd’s head back.
In this round, something finally gave in the final minute with Hurd getting the one clean shot needed to give him the split decision edge on the cards.
Tomorrow our award list continues with our Fights of the Year.