The Best Boxing Fights Of 2019


The Great Boxing Bouts of 2019

2019 was a sensational year for boxing, as the women's game went onto a new level, and as this heavyweight story for the ages saw yet another dramatic chapter. Here, we take a look back on what was one of the most memorable years of boxing the past decade.

From Anthony Joshua losing and regaining the throne, to Deontay Wilder's devastating knockouts over Dominic Breazeale and Luiz Ortiz - the heavyweight division was turned upside down. Then there were the jaw-dropping bouts such as Naoya Inoue vs Nonito Donaire and Josh Taylor vs Regis Prograis.

Tell us what you think of these fights from last year and if we missed out any, by tweeting us @Oddschanger.

Katie Taylor vs Delfine Persoon

For the curtain raiser and the Facebook Live fight we've headed back to June where four world titles were on the line in the women's lightweight division, Katie Taylor took on Belgium's Delfine Persoon at Madison Square Gardens in New York.

Going into the fight, Persoon was very much overlooked as she was seen more as a stepping stone for Taylor, however, the fight most certainly didn't turn out that way.

From the first bell, Persoon took the fight to Taylor. The Irish 2012 Olympic gold medalist had built up a bit of a reputation as a pretty boxer who wasn't afraid to take the fight to her opponent, but the sheer work rate and chin of Persoon forced Taylor to fight on the back foot for the majority of the fight.

The result many fans believe went the wrong way with Taylor claiming a majority decision on the scorecards. Take a look back at what was one of the best fights in female boxing history below:

Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz II

This may come as a surprise to you guys but we felt that we had to include it solely down to the performance of AJ and the pure anticipation and excitement it brought.

A fighter who'd gone from being touted as one of the best of this generation to what some people on social media labelled as a 'bum'. The first fight for Joshua did not go to plan after getting stopped in emphatic fashion by the late replacement of Jarrell Miller back in June.

Joshua was a fighter who prior to the first fight with Ruiz had been used to bullying his opponents with his incredible size and power, and in every case bar the Joseph Parker fight, stopping them in impressive style.

However, in the Ruiz rematch, we saw a completely different 'AJ' to what we had learned to know. A more rounded fighter, a more calculated fighter, a fighter who wasn't just going to solely rely on his one-punch power to get the victory. This was the resurrection of Anthony Joshua and he didn't fail to disappoint, as he perfected his craft and revamp his entire style.

The big question in the buildup to the rematch was if the Brit could realistically box like he did when he won the Olympic gold medal in 2012.

From the first bell, Joshua's tactics were clear. He'd added the highly-rated Angel Fernandez to his coaching setup prior to the fight and his input on Joshua's style was evident within minutes of the bout beginning. More thinking than doing and the main thing was his the jab, rather than his devastating hooks and combinations.

Joshua was the much taller and longer man in the fight and he used that jab like a boomerang, keeping the short and wide Ruiz at range and using his feet to circle around the American; the thing that ultimately lost AJ the first fight, as he got up close and was dealt the ultimate blow.

Casuals may call Joshua's performance boring in the rematch, however, it was simply a boxing lesson for Ruiz and it showed that the Watford-born does have the minerals to fight on the back foot for 36 minutes.

Errol Spence Jr vs Shawn Porter

Now we head Stateside for the Welterweight unification clash between the unbeaten Errol Spence Jr and Shawn Porter.

It's safe to say this clash of styles was always going make for an absolute war and that it was. Porter's refusal to take a step back in more or less every fight he's fought and Spence's superior boxing skills which saw him win the Golden Gloves title on three occasions and get to the 2012 Olympic quarter finals. This was a fight for the purists.

Many thought Porter may struggle to adapt to Spence's southpaw style but early on, he seemed to cope well winning the majority of early rounds but as the far bigger man, Spence had a clear tactic of sitting on Porter's chest to grind him down for the latter rounds and that's exactly what seemed to happen.

It's not often you see Porter touch the canvas, but in the 11th round, the unthinkable happened as Spence's inside work paid off as he landed a short left hook which sent Porter's chin into row Z. Somehow, he never properly hit the deck and it was called a knockdown due to Porter's fist touching the canvas straight after he'd been caught.

Despite Spence's dominance of the later rounds, he only got a split decision win but the general consensus was that he was the deserved winner.

Josh Taylor vs Regis Prograis

The World Boxing Super Series has provided some incredible fights over the past couple of years and two of them feature in our fights of the year. The first being the Super Lightweight Final between Scotland's self-proclaimed 'Tartan Tornado' Josh Taylor and the American, Regis Prograis.

It was always going to be a cracker and the buildup to the fight didn't fail to disappoint with two exuberant personalities going back and forth with insults and at times, getting rather heated.

From the opening bell, these two did not take a backward step and when we say they didn't take a backward step, the only time they did was at the end of the round. This was what we like to call a 'phone box fight' cause they could have literally fought it in a phone box.

Taylor's big frame was a clear target for Prograis from the first bell and the American did get the better of him in the early stages with his impressive lateral movement and the ability to make Taylor miss upstairs then counter downstairs causing the Scotsman all sorts of problems.

However, what makes a champion is the ability to adapt during a fight and that's exactly what Taylor did. Some would argue that the early damage Prograis inflicted on Taylor's body ended up working against him as Taylor took the fight to the inside and despite his absolute granite chin, could hardly miss Prograis at times.

It was one of those fights that despite Taylor getting the victory, Prograis's stock only went skywards. A fight any boxing fan could literally watch on repeat a good hundred times. Something which many may have already done considering the current predicament we're in!

Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz I

The co-main event. You guys will have been waiting for this one as it was the biggest shock in recent sporting history, never mind just boxing. Andy Ruiz's seventh-round stoppage of the unified heavyweight champion of the world, Anthony Joshua.

Joshua was originally down to fight 'Big Baby' Jarrell Miller until the New Yorker tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Then into save the day, Andy Ruiz Jr. He'd beaten Alexander Dimitrenko just weeks before accepting the fight so you could argue he was in the best condition possible, even though it didn't look that way.

The fight started how most fights with this much on the line do, slow, whilst both fighters suss each other out with Ruiz trying to close the distance and let his hands go a bit.

Then in the third round, out of absolutely nowhere, the round of not just the year, but quite possibly the decade happened. Ruiz finally managed to get on the inside, but with half a step back, AJ unleashed a beautiful right uppercut left hook combination which sent the Mexican to the canvas.

At this point, we thought it was just a matter of time. We'd seen 'AJ' do this over and over again. However, the opposite happened and the boxing world was turned upside down.

After going in for the kill, in the absolute fracas that was both fighters letting their hands go wildly, Joshua was caught by a short left hook from Ruiz bang on the temple which turned his legs to jelly. The Englishman was down and as the round finished and the next couple went by, it looked like it was becoming an uphill task for the Englishman and we were looking at potentially a new unified heavyweight champion of the world in 16/1 outsider Andy Ruiz.

Then in the seventh round, after hitting the deck a couple of more times, the ref waived the fight off. Andy Ruiz had just caused the biggest shock in boxing since Mike Tyson vs Buster Douglas back in 1990.


Naoya Inoue vs Nonito Donaire

The cream of the crop, the main event. The one we've all been waiting for and boy, this one was worth waiting for. The World Boxing Super Series bought us the goods again as Naoya Inoue and Nonito Donaire fought quite easily the fight of the year for the WBA and IBF World Bantamweight Titles and the Muhammad Ali Trophy.

Inoue, the unbeaten Japanese fighter who'd become better known as 'The Monster', was on an incredible eight fight stoppage streak when he came glove to glove the experienced four-weight world champion Nonito Donaire, also quite easily one of the nicest men in boxing.

Both fighters had similar but differing routes to the final of the Super Series with Inoue getting a first-round stoppage over Juan Carlos Payano in the quarters and then a second-round stoppage over Emmanuel Rodriguez in the semis. Donaire meanwhile claimed victory over Ryan Burnett in the quarters after the Irishman suffered a career-ending hip injury and then the Philippine defeated late replacement Stephon Young by sixth-round KO.

Despite these, Inoue went into the fight as massive favourite and it was easy to see why considering Donaire hadn't fought at bantamweight since unifying the division against Omar Andres Narvaez in 2011 and there were rumours that he was struggling with the weight. However, if he was, he certainly didn't show it.

For the first time in his 18-fight career to date, we saw something unimaginable, Naoya Inoue getting pushed back and in a very tough fight. Donaire stayed with him for 12 rounds giving it as good as he got it despite getting knocked down in the 11th round with both fighters faces bashed up and showing the results of being in one of the fights of the decades leaving boxing fans and commentators Chris Lloyd and Darren Barker, especially in absolute awe.

What people seemingly forget is that this wasn't two fighters in their so-called peak. This was a 26-year-old undefeated monster against a 36-year-old legend of the sport who was seemingly coming to the end of his career.

The best fight of 2019 bar none.

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