SAN DIEGO, Calif., December 28, 2017 – Boxing journalists and fans enjoy many different aspects involved with the sport, but let’s face it: there’s nothing more exciting than a spectacular, fight-ending knockout – as long as the person on the canvas gets up safely to fight another day.
There were several leading candidates for Knockout of the Year honors early in 2017, March roared in like a lion with the first two contenders. First came the brutal left hook delivered by David Lemieux to Curtis Stevens in their middleweight fight on March 11, 2017. Two weeks later, Danny Garcia blew through Dejan Zlaticanin with an equally devastating right hook.
Mexican-born journeyman Ray Beltran was fighting for his right to stay in the United States and made his case with a second round knockout of Jonathan Maicelo in May. Fans would then go all summer before September brought several new candidates for the honor by Srisaket Sor Rungvisai with a shocking defeat of former pound for pound phenomenon Roman Gonazlez on September 8; and a reputation making first round knockout by rising star Ryan “Kingry” Garcia over Miguel Carrizoza on September 15, 2017.
But our hands down winner came in a fight on the undercard of the Carl Frampton versus Horacio Garcia fight in Belfast, Northern Ireland. South African countrymen Zolani Tete and Sibonisi Gonya were supposed to fight in their home country, but a last minute problem with
Pacquiao and the shiting promotional sands, there remain select individual achievements deserving of acknowledgment, attention and our applause. People love this sport because its athletes put everything on the line every single time they step into the ring for our entertainment.
These performance merit recognition in their categories by Ringside Seat among their peers.
First round knockouts are rare in boxing. Most fighters use it as a “feeling out” round, getting comfortable with their opponent’s rhythm and settling in. A knockout within the first minute is even rarer.
Bantamweight phenomenon Zolani Tete of South Africa scored the fastest knockout on record in 2017 in the first defense of his WBO World Bantamweight title. It took him a mere six seconds to land a single perfect right to the chin of countryman Sibonisa Gonya, and 11 seconds to win the fight as the referee began his count for Gonya. The count was stopped when it quickly became obvious Gonya was out cold and would not be getting up
Gonya (11-2, 5 KOs) was immediately attended to in the ring by physicians and left with an oxygen mask on but under his own power. Promoter Frank Warren said “(Tete) is something special. He is one of those special fighters that come along one in a blue moon. What he’s got going for him is confidence, a great team around him, we’re going to keep him busy.” True to his word, Tete (26-3, 21 KOs) is scheduled to face Omar Narvaez of Argentina (47-2-2, 22 KOs) on February 10 at the Copper Box Arena in England, where Tete is starting to develop a significant fan base.
Enjoy a look back at all of our Honorable Mention candidates for 2017 Knockout of the Year.
Mikey Garcia, third round knockout over Dejan Zlaticanin, January 28, 2017
Deontay Wilder, first round knockout over Bermane Stiverne, November 4, 2017
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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