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As the year 2016 comes to the final stretch, boxing enthusiast cannot help but sit back and reflect on the year that was in the boxing arena. While there weren’t a Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao kind of boxing sensations in the course of the year, many 4 and 5 star boxers lit the stage with their pre-match eloquence, jaw breaking power punches, foot works and of course out-of-the ring brawls. Without further ado, here are 3 boxing fights that actually defined the 2016 boxing arena.
 
1. Francisco Vargas vs. Orlando Salido
The match took place on O4/06/2016 and happened just some 24 hours after the demise of the boxing great Muhammad Ali. To the delight of fans at the StubHub Center, the Mexicans put on a thrilling show and, ultimately, shared the spoils of the game.

Francisco Vargas, nicknamed El Bandido by his adoring fans, is a nine-time Mexican amateur champion (as of writing this article) in the Mexican amateur championship. The 35-year-old boxer entered the match as the defending WBC Super Featherweight champion. Vargas had previously won 18 matches in a row and was thus considered a hot favorite for this match. Of importance is that he had won 14 of the 18 matches through technical knockout.

Orlando Salido, on the other hand, came into this game as a two time world champion in the IBF featherweight category and WBO super featherweight category. He had previously fought Lomachenko, Orlando Cruz, and Roman Martinez and registered mixed results in the process.

The Mexican brawlers went for a toe-to-toe kind of contest much to the thrills of the crowd at StubHub. At the end of pulsating 12 rounds of action, 2,000 punches had been thrown and Vargas had suffered bruises all over his face thanks to repeated head butts by Salido. Even then, the thrilling contest ended as majority draw with two of the judges calling out 114-114 scoreline. Vargas kept his WBC championship while Salido was made to wait for another chance to win the coveted title. Overall, the fight registered a massive 954,000 viewership on HBO making it one of the prominent fights of 2016.
 
2. Roman Gonzalez vs. Carlos Cuadras
This was yet another battle of the titans that stretched all the way to the 12th round. The action took place on 10/09/2016 at the iconic INGLEWOOD forum, California. Nicaraguan Gonzalez came to the match on the backdrop of 10/11 knockouts in his previous outings. But Mexican Carlos Cuadras was no mean opponent either. He was, until this match, the WBC Super Flyweight Champion and his quick hands and a combination of punches drew raucous shouts from fans throughout the fight.

Roman Gonzalez, admiringly nicknamed “Chocolatito” by fans was the first Nicaraguan to win a title in each of four weight classes he took part. Be brought to this match an 83% knockout-to-win. Equally impressive, Gonzalez had won all the 45 matches he played prior to the match and was actually ranked as the world’s number one pound for pound boxer by The Ring.

Mexican Carlos Cuadras Quiroa came to the match as the defending WBC World Super Flyweight champion and had an impressive 73% knockout-to-win. Of the 36 matches played to the big game, Carlos had won 34, drawn once and lost once.

The Gonzalez vs. Cuadras was dabbed as the contest of the little guys. Even then, the match was nothing short of exciting. Gonzalez’s superb footwork and power punches were countered by Cuadras’ quick hands action and a winner’s mentality. The 12th round was especially exhilarating with both contenders put in a great show. After a bruising 12 rounds, and 1,822 punches, Roman Gonzalez was declared the new WBC World Super Flyweight champion ahead of the relentless Cuadras.
 
3. Jamie Conlan vs. Anthony Nelson
What a sensational match this was! Though it was only billed to be an undercard match, the Jamie vs. Nelson fight turned out to be one of the most enthralling boxing matches of 2016. Conlan, who eventually emerged the winner, was receiving all the shots in the opening stages of the match. By the seven rounds Conlan had already been sent to the canvas and not many expected the turn of events in eighth round.

Jamie Conlan from Northern Ireland had previously played 17 times winning 10 of those through knockouts. Conlan first major win was over Benjamin Smoes and won the WBO European Super Flyweight champion. He also defeated Jose Estrella of Mexico to win the WBO Inter-Continental belt.

Anthony Nelson has had varied results in his playing career winning four titles and 11/11 wins before this match. As opposed to Conlan’s profile though, Anthony had only registered 2 knock outs.

Despite their relatively low profiles in the boxing arena, the brawlers went on to register some thrilling touches on the ring at the Copper Box Arena, London. It was Conlan who dictated things at the early stages, with his younger brother Michael cheering him from ringside. But a combination of experience and sharp come-forward shots, Nelson fought off his opponent and actually pressed him to the ropes for long periods of time. By the seventh round, Conlan had gone down and was nearly giving up. It’s in the eighth round that Conlan mastered courage and registered some heroic punches that sent Nelson to the ground and ultimately delivered the title to him. It was billed to be small match but ended up attracting attention from the big men of the ring.
 
Whats to come:
The year 2016 has no doubt been great for boxing enthusiasts, fans and players alike. As the year 2017 unfolds, expect to witness even more matches on the cards. The most notable will be the David Haye vs. Tony Bellew, Adrien Broner v Adrian Granados and the mouthwatering Anthony Joshua v Wladimir Klitschko expected to take place in April of 2017.

In summary, while you didn’t see the big names such as David Haye, Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko squaring it of on the rings, upcoming boxers also proved to be a force to reckon. Brawlers such as Roman Gonzalez, Francisco Vargas and Orlando Salido proved to be equally vicious on the world stage you can only expect them to get better in the coming years.

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One of the most dynamic sports fields in the world is boxing. Unlike in other sports where some players may reign as champions for a very long time, it’s a little bit different in boxing. Here, you may find a much feared champion being knocked out in as early as the second round of his next event. It’s never quite a surprise to hear that a big name in boxing has conceded defeat to an opponent who is relatively unknown.
 
Of special interest are the World Boxing Association (WBA) fights. These fights tend to be tougher in comparison to other fights because first of all, they only pit together professional boxers and not amateur boxers as may happen in other boxing federations. Secondly, the WBA matches aren’t a child’s play because boxers crave the prestige of being a WBA champion and hence give their very best while in the ring.
 
Who are the best young WBA boxers?
 
We all know about WBA big names such as Floyd Mayweather Jr, Manny Pacquiao, Jorge Linares, and Amir Khan among others. These are senior or relatively senior boxers who have over time stamped their authority in their respective WBA weight classes. Who, however are some of the best young talents the WBA currently has? Well, here is a list of seven boxers aged 27 and below who are proving excellence in WBA competitions:
 
1. Canelo Alvarez
 
A list young boxing sensations wouldn’t be complete without including Saul Canelo Alvarez. Having recently taken on a much dreaded Gennady Golovkin, the 26 year old Mexican boxer is probably the bravest and most spirited young boxer that the boxing world currently has The current WBO light middleweight champion and former WBA Unified light middleweight title holder has a record of 48 wins out of 50 professional matches. He has only 1 loss and a single draw. The Mexican also boasts of 34 knockout wins to his name.
 
Furthermore, Canelo has proved he is a force to reckon by facing a number of elite boxers in the past. His list of well known opponents include Amir Khan, Floyd Mayweather Jr, and Erislandy Lara among others.
 
2. Keith Thurman
 
Keith Thurman is a decorated boxer. He has held the WBA welterweight title ever since 2013. He is also ranked 2nd best welterweight in the world by BoxRec and Ring Magazine.
 
The 27 year old American star has 27 wins out of 28 career matches and a total of 22 knockouts. He has previously fought notable stars such Julio Diaz, Robert Guerrero, and Luis Collazo among many more He certainly a star within the rings.
 
3. Adrien Broner
 
Adrien Broner is an American boxing star who has the feat of being a four weight champion at just the age of 27. He started out his professional boxing career as a super featherweight in 2008 and at the moment, he is competing at welterweight.
 
Broner’s list of titles include WBO Junior Lightweight, WBC Lightweight, WBA Welterweight, and WBA Super Lightweight among others. He is indeed a sterling sportsman.
 
4. Dmitry Bivol
 
The 25 year old Russian is the current WBA light heavyweight interim champion. Although he hasn’t been in the professional boxing realm long enough, he is proving to be a talent to watch out for as he has won all of his 8 professional matches. Out of these wins, he has 6 knockouts. His remaining two wins have been by the judges’ unanimous decision.
 
The promising boxer scooped the WBA light heavyweight interim title from Dominican Republic’s Felix Valera in May this year
 
5. Juan Francisco Estrada
 
Juan Francisco Estrada or El gallito as he is fondly referred to is a former WBA Unified flyweight title holder. The pugilist has had 34 wins in 36 professional matches and 24 of these have been by knockout.
 
El Gallito recently moved up to the bantamweight category where he floored Raymond Tabugon in his debut match. Estrada also proved he is made of steel in 2012 when he put up a spirited fight against Roman Gonzalez, only losing to him by marginal points. He had come down his natural weight division to face the Nicaraguan star at light flyweight.
 
6. Tony Lopez Jr
 
Some would want to argue that he doesn’t deserve a mention in this list but the young American has shown the world he has what it takes to be a boxing bigwig in the very near future. At only 22 years of age, the bantamweight fighter is already taking on more experienced fighters such as Stephon Young among others. The youthful boxer is a former WBC Youth International bantamweight champion and is ranked 7th by the North American Boxing Association (NASA).
 
Lopez Jr has only suffered 1 loss out of his 12 professional matches. He has 4 knockout wins which is quite encouraging considering his age and the fact that he has not had much amateur and professional experiences in comparison to his opponents. He further showcased his capability of becoming a star when he recently stopped a more experienced Jerren Cochran in the second round of a HBO event.
 
The world certainly has to keep its eyes open for this boxing starlet that is emerging from the North of America.
 
7. Randy Moreno
United States’ promising young talent doesn’t stop at Lopez Jr, there is also another American young boxer who is proving to be a star in the making. This is none other than super featherweight fighter Randy Moreno. The 20 year old vounaster who is sianed with Rov Jones Jr Boxina Promotions recently defeated Derick
 
Barthomley at the Knockout Night at the D event to improve his ranking to 2-0 with 1 knockout. His win came after a 4th round unanimous decision by the judges. Moreno has also previously taken on various experienced boxers in the U.S.
 
The Las Vegas star has just started but he certainly holds promise of becoming an ace very soon.
 
There you have it, seven of the young WBA boxers who are proving their capability within the ring. The list locked out some well known names such as Kell Brooks and Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez because of the issue 01 26 years cutoff age. It is important to note that there apparently isn’t any definite criteria of ranking a boxer as either young or senior aged. The 26 years of age cutoff limit was just for the sake of this article. There are many other young boxers who haven’t been included in this list but are certainly doing great in their sport.