‘Fight of the Year’, ‘Fighter of the Year’, ‘KO of the Year’ and plenty of honourable mentions is the sum of another exciting year of the quest for the Muhammad Ali Trophy.
There is broad consensus among media on ‘Fight of the Year’ 2019, the WBSS Bantamweight Ali Trophy final between Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue and Nonito ‘The Filipino Flash’ Donaire in Saitama, Japan on November 7.
It was a battle of historic proportions. As Kalle Sauerland, Chief Boxing Officer of the WBSS, said after 12 rounds of non-stop action at the Saitama Super Arena: “We’ve seen ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’, ‘The Thrilla in Manila’ and now we’ve seen the ‘Drama in Saitama’.”
Yuniel Dorticos, who meets Mairis Briedis in the upcoming cruiserweight final, impressed with his KO in the semi-final against Andrew Tabiti and Josh Taylor vs Regis Prograis did not go unnoticed either among the world’s leading sports media and boxing publications.
ESPN – Fight of the Year: Naoya Inoue vs Nonito Donaire, Bantamweight Ali Trophy Final
“…It was a mesmerizing, punishing battle from start to finish between two master boxers whose inclination is to stand and fight. They dispensed with the sweet science and rumbled in an enthralling and superb fight, which Inoue won 117-109, 116-111 and 114-113 on the scorecards — but not before he had to overcome tremendous adversity for the first time in his career.”
Yahoo Sports – Fight of the Year: Naoya Inoue vs Nonito Donaire, Bantamweight Ali Trophy Final
“… The drama unfolding before a huge crowd was remarkable, as the momentum shifted and neither man backed down. It was a match that had everything, and it’s the choice as the 2019 Yahoo Sports Fight of the Year.”
Ring Magazine – Fight of the Year: Naoya Inoue vs Nonito Donaire, Bantamweight Ali Trophy Final
Boxing News – Fight of the Year: Naoya Inoue vs Nonito Donaire, Bantamweight Ali Trophy Final
“… The WBSS delivered again as the bantamweight finalists put on a bedazzling showcase of boxing at its finest in Japan, with a unanimous triumph leaving Inoue as the WBA and IBF king.”
Boxing News has Yuniel Dorticos’ KO against Andrew Tabiti in a cruiser-weight semi-final and Nonito’s Donaire’s ditto versus Stephon Young in a bantamweight semi among the best KO’s of the year. Naoya Inoue is No. 3 ‘Fighter of the Year’. The Baranchyk-Taylor & Inoue-Rodriguez doubleheader and the Prograis-Taylor final are mentioned among the events of the year.
Eastside Boxing – Fight of the Year: Naoya Inoue vs Nonito Donaire, Bantamweight Ali Trophy Final
“… NAOYA INOUE’s riveting win over NONITO DONAIRE is our consensus pick for 2019 Fight of the Year. This bantamweight bout had six key elements that produce a timeless bout: (1) big momentum shifts; (2) dramatic moments; (3) limited fouling and holding; (4) who would win. INOUE proved that he could beat an elite opponent without having to rely solely on his vaunted power, claiming a WBA Super Bantamweight World Title and the coveted Ali Trophy with his win over DONAIRE in the World Boxing Super Series finals.”
Eastside Boxing – KO of the Year: Yuniel Dorticos KO10 Andrew Tabiti
“…YUNIEL DORTICOS’s jaw-dropping knockout of ANDREW TABITI was something to behold: A picture-perfect, walk-off knockout by the Cuban ba-dass that closed the show on a high-octane battle for an IBF Cruiserweight World title. KO’s don’t get much cleaner than this.”
thecomeback.com – Fight of the Year: Naoya Inoue vs Nonito Donaire, Bantamweight Ali Trophy Final
“…If you saw it in a movie you wouldn’t believe it. A fight with a backstory so romantically improbable that any attempt to regale a non-observer with it would immediately be met with accusations of exaggeration. Hell, I myself can no longer tell where my real memory of this wondrous night in Saitama, Japan ends and where the confabulation begins.”
badlefthook.com – Fight of the Year: Naoya Inoue vs Nonito Donaire, Bantamweight Ali Trophy Final
“… an instant classic in every way.”
thesweetscience.com – Fight of the Year: Naoya Inoue vs Nonito Donaire, Bantamweight Ali Trophy Final
“…Not that what happened Nov. 7 in Saitama, Japan, was an exact duplicate of what took place that sultry day in the Philippines (“The Thrilla in Manila”), but the bantamweight unification finale of the World Boxing Super Series, between a downsized Godzilla, 26-year-old IBF bantamweight champion Naoya “The Monster” Inoue, and thought-to-be-past-his-prime WBA titlist Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire, was an exhilarating, two-way clash that was at least somewhat reminiscent of Ali-Frazier III, and not just because of the Filipino heritage of Donaire, a Las Vegas resident who would turn 37 nine days later.”
Fight Disciples – Fight of the Year: Regis Prograis vs Josh Taylor, Super-Lightweight Ali Trophy Final
Fight Disciples – Fighter of the Year: Josh Taylor