One of the most spoke about annual awards is the KO of the Year award, one that gets a lot of attention due to the dramatic nature of KO's and the lengthy short list that can be put together.
We look at this category differently to most other sites. We consider all knockouts for this category, whilst we know most bigger sites only look at higher profile bouts. In our eyes that doesn't really give a knockout a chance to shine properly. For us the quality of a knockout is independent of the level, or even quality, of the show it's on or the fighters involved. We don't need Fuji TV, TBS, Sky Sports, Showtime, Fox or DAZN fawning over the fight for the KO to be award winning and we certainly don't need a world title to be on the line.
For us a top KO is brutal, frightening, can happen at any level, and the loser doesn't have a chance of beating the 10 count. A fighter who is "out on their feet" after regaining their footing is, for us, not a KO of the Year victim. Yes they are unfit to continue, but they aren't out cold.
Despite those criteria we saw a lot of contenders for this award this year, and they came from all over the place.
Just a mini list would include the likes:
Afrizal Tamboresi being taken out in Vietnam by Mikhail Lesnikov, way back in January
Romero Duno brutally stopping Kuldeep Dhanda in what was one of our front runners for much of the year,
Downua Ruaviking's fantastic KO of Akihiro Kondo which went down as one of the most surprising,
Israil Madrimov's combination to take out Frank Rojas was a thing of beauty,
Takenori Ohashi's amazing uppercut against Shun Wakabayashi frightening,
JR Raquinel's finish of Takuya Kogawa, was even more terrifying
Even as recently as December 15th we were adding new contenders, with Mammoth Kazunori's brutal finish of Lerdchai Chaiyawed on a Boxingraise show, one of many stunning KO's featured on Boxingraise this year and Keon Woo Kim taking out Moon Han Ji in brutal fashion on a KBF Rookie off the Year card both occurring on the same day.
At the end of the year however we want back to a KO we had watched over, and over through the final few months of the year. A KO that happened in August and left the victim standing on their feet, at least originally...before sending the victim face planting the ring. This was Ho Joon Jung brutally taking out Si Woo Lee in one of the most visually pleasing KO's we've ever seen. This brutal, car crash like, KO was our clearly the winner of the 2019 Asian Boxing Awards KO of the Year.
We saw some amazing KO's in 2018, at every level of the sport and genuinely saw so many that we could write a list of 40 great ones, including some really obscure ones like Hebi Marapu's sickening body shot KO of Phutthiphong Rakoon and the brilliant KO shot from Shuichiro Yoshino against Kazumasa Kobayashi, in what was a late contender for our KO of the year.
Despiute the number of Amazing KO's, we felt there was a clear winner. Naoya Inoue's [井上 尚弥] fantastic, light out KO against Juan Carlos Payano from the World Boxing Super Series. It was a dynamite right hand that left Payano flat out on his back, staring up at the lights with none of his senses remaining. It was technically and visually brilliant, and was done so at an extremely highly level against a highly accomplished southpaw. It really was amazing to see, and the sort of KO that has been played over, and over, and over. Really something very special.
What arguably made Inoue's KO so amazing was that he had only moved up to the Bantamweight division a few months earlier, and had fought fought only 112 seconds as a Bantamweight, steam rolling Jamie McDonnell. To show that power against someone who was seen as durable, put the division on alert and gave the fellow WBSS Bantamweights something to be terrified of. It showed Inoue was able to move up and arguably hit even harder at Bantamweight than he had at Super Flyweight.
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