There have been many top opponents who faced Irish boxers this year and it was exceedingly tough to whittle it down to just FIVE.
It should be noted that the scope for nomination is not solely the quality of the opponent but a more general feeling based also on performances and personalities. Basically, opponents that made us sit up and take notice.
This award is named after the late Alejandro Gonzalez Jr, the Mexican who dropped Carl Frampton twice in a world title fight back in 2015 but was then tragically murdered the following year.
Voting is limited to ONE VOTE per IP address
Opponent of the Year
Craig Evans (v Stephen Ormond, James Tennyson)
The Welshman ensured it was a repeat when he took on Ormond in June, holding on to just about win their rematch. In October it was different – dropped by Tennyson in the opening round of their British title final, many expected a quick ending. However, Evans dug in admirably, winning many of the rounds before finally being finished in the penultimate stanza.
Renald Garrido (v Sean McComb)
Every Irish boxing fan loves the eccentric Frenchman and Garrido loves Ireland. ‘Lionheart’ fought Sean McComb at the Feile in August, pushing the Belfast boxer to a career-best performance while endearing himself to everyone before and after. From interacting with kids during his walk-on to waving the tricolour afterwards and reuniting with Tyrone McKenna, boxing needs more Garridos.
Vladimir Nikitin (v Mick Conlan)
The source of so much Irish ire, the little Russian was really no more than a pawn in a much bigger game. Signed by Top Rank solely for the purpose of building Conlan, Nikitin went along with the narrative, always staying respectful. Then, despite a poor pro innings beforehand, the Komi slugger stepped up several levels at Madison Square Garden earlier this month to give Conlan a legitimately tough fight.
Mira Potkonen (v Amy Broadhurst x2, Kelly Harrington)
The Finland fighter has become something of a bogeywoman for Irish boxers. Having beaten Katie Taylor at the Rio Olympics, Potkonen defeated Kelly Harrington in 2017 and 2018 before their third meeting at the European Games this summer was shelved when the Dubliner was forced out with a thumb injury. There would be more Irish heartbreak, however, with veteran Potkonen beating Broadhurst in the European Championships semis before denying her a bronze at the Worlds.
Danny Roman (v TJ Doheny)
The Mexican-American was all that this award is about – respectful both before and after his unification with TJ Doheny and ferocious in the ring during their twelve rounds in California. All that is hoped now is that Roman fulfils his mandatory obligations and has a rematch with the Portlaoise puncher.
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