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Candidates abound, but one boxer stands out as 2017 Yahoo Sports Boxing Fighter of the Year

Kevin Iole
Combat columnist
Terence Crawford displays his world title belts after he unified the super lightweight division by knocking out Julius Indongo in August. (Mikey Williams/Top Rank)

Boxing had a great year in 2017, with numerous outstanding individual performances and many great fights for fans to enjoy.

Some years, it is plainly obvious by September who the male boxing Fighter of the Year should be. This year, though, it was not so simple.

I came up with five candidates, each of whom has an argument for the award: Anthony Joshua, the IBF/WBA heavyweight champion who was 2-0 in the year, including an exciting win over Wladimir Klitschko; Mikey Garcia, the WBC lightweight champion; Sri Sor Rungvisai, who had two wins over the great Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez; WBO super featherweight king Vasyl Lomachenko; and Terence “Bud” Crawford, who unified the super lightweight titles.

Several of them will be in contention for other honors. The Joshua-Klitschko fight is one of my leading candidates for Fight of the Year, as well as Event of the Year. Rungvisai’s win over Gonzalez in March is a Fight of the Year possibility, while his knockout of Gonzalez in the rematch is a KO of the Year candidate.

Garcia’s knockout of Dejan Zlaticanin is another legitimate KO of the Year candidate, and Lomachenko’s Dec. 9 bout with Guillermo Rigondeaux, the first time dual Olympic gold medalists fought as pros, is an Event of the Year choice.

Garcia was 2-0 with a third-round KO of Dejan Zlaticanin in January and a dominant unanimous decision win over Adrien Broner in July. Joshua stopped Klitschko in the 11th round in April and then stopped Carlos Takam in the 10th in October.

Runvisai had a majority decision win over Gonzalez, who was No. 1 pound-for-pound in the world in the Yahoo Sports rankings at the time, on the Gennady Golovkin-Daniel Jacobs undercard in March, and then knocked him out in the September rematch.

WBO super featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko celebrates after stopping Guillermo Rigondeaux after six rounds on Dec. 9 in New York. (Mikey Williams/Top Rank)

Lomachenko forced all three men he faced in 2017 to quit on their stools: Jason Sosa after nine in February; Miguel Marriaga after seven in August and Rigondeaux after six in December.

Crawford stopped Olympic gold medalist Felix Diaz in May and then unified the super lightweight belts when he stopped Julius Indongo in August.

I make my choice in the video below. Who would you have chosen as the male boxing Fighter of the Year in 2017? Let us know in the comments section.