Fighter Of The Year
  Patrick Kinigamazi (Rwanda / Switzerland)

WBF World Super Featherweight Champion.

Previous Winners:
2016: Taylor Mabika (Gabon).
2015: Alexander Brand (Colombia).
2014: Isaac Rodrigues (Brazil).
2013: Danie Venter (South Africa).
2012: Marco Antonio Rubio (Mexico).
2011: Michael Grant (USA).
2010: Evander Holyfield (USA).
2009: William Gare (South Africa).


- What a year it was for Rwanda’s Patrick Kinigamazi, simply the very best of his 11-year career by far. The Switzerland-based 34-year-old sported an excellent record this time 12 months ago (25-2), but aside from Swiss and ABU titles at lightweight, the rewards for years in the ring were meager.

Along came 2017. Patrick first traveled to France in February for a narrow, but deserved points win over 8 rounds against decent home fighter Ruben Gouveia (10-2-1). A nice upset surely, but it got much better.

In June “King Kini” picked up the WBF World Super Featherweight title, thrashing Juan José Farias of Argentina for a lopsided decision, then rounded off his big year by stopping Hungarian Robert Laki (14-1-1) in just five rounds.

Without question, Kinigamazi finally arrived and now the WBF world champion also has the Fighter of the Year award as confirmation for his outstanding success in twenty-seventeen.

 Female Fighter Of The Year
  Segolene Lefebvre (France)

WBF World Super Bantamweight Champion.

Previous Winners:
2016: Isabel Millan (Mexico).
2015: Nicole Wesner (Germany).
2014: Eva Voraberger (Austria).
2013: Christina Hammer (Germany).
2012: Holly Holm (USA).
2011: Christina Hammer (Germany).
2010: Ramona Kuehne (Germany).
2009: Natascha Ragosina (Russia).


- 2016 ended very nicely indeed for Segolene Lefebvre from Douai in France: She was 6-0, had won the French Super Featherweight title, closed out the year by winning the WBF Intercontinental Super Bantamweight belt and the cherry on the cream came in the form of the WBF Female Newcomer of the Year award.

Can it get better? It sure did – as we predicted here a year ago. Rising to the expectations, Segolene had a smashing 2017.

In March, she crowned herself WBF World Super Bantamweight Champion via a 9th-round stoppage of Brazil’s Simone Da Silva Duarte and in November she defended for the first time in a true classic with Mexico’s Naroyuki Koasicha.

That typical boxer vs. puncher match-up was so close that the winner was found in the ultimate round only. Lefebvre got the nod and both amazon warriors got a standing ovation from the audience, such was the quality of their performances.

In between those two outstanding ring appearances, our Female Fighter of the Year scored yet another win, albeit “just” a routine 6-round decision, over Sara Marjanovic in a marking time fight last May.

So while “Sego” Lefebvre had a very good 2016, she easily topped it by having a great 2017 to deservedly clinch her award.

 Fight Of The Year
  Diego Diaz Gallardo vs. Michel Mothmora

World Middleweight Title (31.3 / Martinique).

Previous Winners:
2016: Christopher Sebire vs. Martin Antonio Coggi.
2015: Jan Zaveck vs. Sasha Yengoyan.
2014: Rafik Harutjunjan vs. Ilya Prymak.
2013: Laszlo Toth vs. Giorgi Ungiadze.
2012: Juan José Montes vs. Oscar Ibarra I.
2011: Ali Funeka vs. Zolani Marali I.
2010: Evander Holyfield vs. Francois Botha.
2009: Kreshnik Qato vs. Fabio Liggieri.


- The beautiful Caribbean island of Martinique is more known for paradise-like beaches rather than great prizefights – but it was Martinique who hosted on March 31 the most dramatic WBF world title fight of 2017 when Michel Mothmora’s middleweight crown was ripped off him by Argentinian underdog Diego Diaz Gallardo.

It was Mothmora’s inaugural defense, but Diaz Gallardo meant business from the start, knocking the champion down with a big right to the chin in the very first round. From the second on-wards, the Frenchman successfully suppressed his desire to slug it out and – albeit narrowly – started to win rounds.

But Diego’s pressure never ceased and slowly took its toll. After the seventh, the champ still led 66:63 on all scorecards. That said, the match had already turned back into a slug-fest towards the end of the previous round.

Diaz Gallardo’s pressure had already forced Mothmora to the floor twice for 8-counts, but he came back with such force that it was the South American who staggered back to his corner on shaky legs. However, the WBF world champion was sold and simply tired out from his herculean effort in round seven.

Twice he went down early in the eighth before referee Christophe Hembert crowned Diego Diaz Gallardo the new titleholder by ending what was to become the WBF Fight of the Year 2017 thanks to a most outstanding effort of these two warriors.

 Female Fight Of The Year
  Bukiwe Nonina vs. Alesia Graf

World Bantamweight Title (31.3 / Cape Town).

Previous Winners:
2016: Hyun Mi Choi vs. Unathi Myekeni.
2015: Gabisile Tshabalala vs. Unathi Myekeni.
2014: Rola El Halabi vs. Victoria Cisneros.
2013: Raja Amasheh vs. Eva Voraberger.
2012: Holly Holm vs. Anne Sophie Mathis II.
2011: Christina Hammer vs. Maria Lindberg.
2010: Myriam Lamare vs. Lucia Morelli.
2009: Myriam Lamare vs. Ann Marie Saccurato.


- When 25-year-old Bukiwe Nonina dared to get into the ring against the vastly more experienced German veteran Alesia Graf, not many put her money on the South African bantamweight champion.

Considering that Nonina was just 9-3-1 with her best win coming in a national title fight against a 3-0 challenger, this seemed reasonable assessment.

After all, Graf had a decade more of ring experience and was a former world champion with a stellar 29-5 record. And Alesia didn’t perform bad nor had an off-night that March 31 night in Khayelitsha, a small township close to Cape Town, more the opposite.

It was the fact that Nonina rose to the occasion that made this a very memorable fight, outstanding enough to be our WBF Female Fight of the Year 2017.

Graf was the aggressor, while Nonina put in a masterful display of boxing and in the end it was so close that if one round would have been scored differently, the vacant WBF Womens world bantamweight championship would have remained vacant.

As it was, Nonina won a razor-thin but deserved 10-round decision, but in reality both girl warriors came out winners, what to say about the fans who witnessed a great battle.

 Newcomer Of The Year
  Sherif Morina (Germany)

Previous Winners:
2016: Malik Zinad (Libya) & André Valavanis (Egypt).
2015: Frans Ramabola (South Africa).
2014: Zhang Junlong (China).
2013: Timy Shala (Austria).
2012: Timur Akhundov (Ukraine).
2011: Nadjib Mohammedi (France).
2010: Yvan Mendy (France).
2009: Goran Delic (Bosnia & Hercegovina).


- At the start of last year, Kosovo-born Morina was a “so-what?” beginner with three wins over three guys that anyone would be expected to beat with ease. He ended 2017 at 6-0, the WBF International welterweight title around his waist and our Newcomer of the Year award – quite some metamorphosis.

His step up began in just his fourth pro fight with a KO 4 over Allan Kamote (26-10-5) and finished with an impressive 8th-round stoppage over Tanzanian champion Saidi Mundi, who had lost just four times in 25 previous bouts.

If Sherif Morina continues to develop at this pace, a successful 2018 looms for him…and quite likely more championship belts.

 Female Newcomer Of The Year
  Oshin Derieuw (France)

Previous Winners:
2016: Segolene Lefebvre (France).
2015: Dan Bi Kim (South Korea).
2014: Melanie Zwecker (Germany).
2013: Natalia Smirnova (Russia).
2012: Raja Amasheh (Germany).
2011: Zita Zatyko (Hungary).


- Once again, like in the previous year, the Female Newcomer of the Year award goes to the North of France, this time in the person of Oshin Derieuw – and don’t be surprised if like last year’s winner Segolene Lefebvre, the 30-year-old Derieuw goes on to become a world champion in 2018.

Here’s a short recap of the unbeaten Oshin’s body of work over the previous 12 months: It started in April with a 6-round points win against undefeated Aleksandra Vujovic. One month later, Derieuw beat French rival Marion Montanari on a 10-round shutout to get her hands on the WBF International lightwelterweight belt.

Finally, in November she rematched Vujovic with the vacant WBF Intercontinental title on the line. The performance Derieuw put in that night is the essence of why she is a top candidate for higher honors.

She moved and boxed, she feinted and weaved, she showed an array of punches from a variety of angles, what to speak of superb ring generalship, and finished the fight, after scoring an earlier knockdown, with a clean KO in the seventh round. Keep an eye on Oshin, 7-0 (4), this year. It promises to be worth it.

 Promoter Of The Year
  Nisse Sauerland (Germany)

Previous Winners:
2016: Kenji Maki (Japan).
2015: Mbali Zantsi (South Africa).
2014: Dexter T. Tan (Philippines).
2013: Oliver Heib & Bernhard Notar (Germany).
2012: Oswaldo Kuchle & Hector Garcia (Mexico).
2011: Damian Michael (South Africa).
2010: Ylli Ndroqi (Albania).
2009: Ulf Steinforth (Germany).


- Nisse, from the Sauerland promotional family dynasty founded by his father and Hall-of-Famer Wilfried in the early 80ies, is yet another boxing powerhouse promoter to associate with the World Boxing Federation.

In what thus was his initial year with the WBF, Nisse Sauerland staged two important championships during 2017.

In March, he featured the vacant WBF world heavyweight title on a show in Denmark and in July in Germany the third WBF Womens world lightweight title defense of undefeated Nicole Wesner.

Not a bad start, and you bet we do hope it was a start. In any case, Sauerland made enough of an impact in the past year to warrant being the WBF Promoter of the Year for 2017.

 Presidents Special Service Award
  Francois Botha (S.A.) & Uwe Hueck (Germany)

Previous Winners:
2016: Johnny Najjar (USA).
2015: Dr. Adam Balogh (Germany).
2014: André Martin (France).
2013: Jennifer Salinas (Bolivia).
2012: Oliver Heib & Bernhard Notar (Germany).
2011: Dr. Humbert Furgoni (France).
2010: John Sheppard (England).
2009: Anila Qato (Albania).


- Yes, at first view it’s an odd choice for 2017’s Special Service Award of the WBF President, but former WBF world heavyweight champion Francois “The White Buffalo” Botha and the Chairman of Porsche’s Workers Council from Germany, Uwe Hueck, hooked up, literally, for something truly worthwhile last year.

In late 2015, these two boxed 8-rounds in a so-called charity fight in Germany, with WBF boss Howard Goldberg being the referee, in aid of a children’s foundation supported by Hueck. In March of 2017, on the same card as two WBF world title fights, the pair met again, with Hueck returning the favour to Botha by coming to Khayeltisha, a township near Cape Town.

Again, the two “old geezers” laced on the gloves once more. The “result” doesn’t matter, what mattered was that Botha and Hueck raised enough money to fully equip six (!) gyms in the boxing-crazy township.

Furthermore, Porsche simultaneously launched their outreach program, which affords the opportunity to young adults, to be enrolled in the Porsche program culminating in employments with Porsche and Volkwagen once they have graduated.

This program is worth a huge amount to the South African economy. For this incredible event, and for the willingness of both Uwe Hueck and Francois Botha to do the charity fight the President’s Special Service award is given jointly to them.

 Trainer Of The Year
  Giorgio Costantino (Switzerland)

Previous Winners:
2016: William Guillaume (France).
2015: Artur Grigorian (Germany).
2014: Ulysses Pereira (Brazil).
2013: Juan Carlos Contreras (Mexico).
2012: Alan Toweel (South Africa).
2011: Dirk Dzemski (Germany).


- Granted, it’s easy to be honored as Trainer of the Year, when the boxer he handles is the Fighter of the Year and reigns as WBF world champion. But that’s not the point why Swiss coach Giorgio Costantino, who handles the training of Patrick Kinigamazi, is this year’s choice among many.

Consider this: Prior to Kinigamazi being crowned WBF superfeatherweight champion of the world, his record stood at 26-2 with only four of his wins coming inside the distance. In fact, it was almost five years (!) since an opponent of his failed to hear the final bell.

It’s not clear what exactly Costantino did, but suddenly with the WBF title on the line for his charge, the story-line of his often boring fights changed dramatically.

Argentina’s Juan José Farias kissed the canvas five times in 12 rounds, losing a lopsided decision, and when Kinigamazi defended in November, Hungarian Robert Laki also went down five times in less than five rounds.

That’s a staggering 10 knockdowns in 17 rounds! So until the world has figured out how Giorgio Costantino turned a feather fist into a jojo sensation, he’s certainly worth being WBF Trainer of the Year.

 Referee Of The Year
  Tony Weeks (USA)

Previous Winners:
2016: Zbigniew Lagosz (Poland).
2015: Bertrand Chagnoux (France).
2014: Brahim Ait Aadi (Belgium).
2013: Edward Marshall (South Africa).
2012: Tonio Tiberi (Luxembourg).
2011: Juan José Ramirez (Mexico).


- Since around two decades, Las Vegas-resident Tony Weeks is considered a top-class referee. On world level, mind you. In 2017, Weeks arrived at the WBF and did so in style.

He was the third man in the ring at two WBF world championships in Mexico (one male, one female) as well as one WBF Intercontinental championship in the Philippines.

Possibly you didn’t notice him, but that only tells you how good the man is at what he does. We are certainly proud that the WBF is not only enticing fantastic boxers, but also fantastic officials.

Welcome in the WBF family, Tony Weeks, WBF Referee of the Year 2017.

 Administrator Of The Year
  Sergio Sotelo (Mexico)

Previous Winners:
2016: Christophe Hembert (France).



- Sergio Sotelo is with the World Boxing Federation since 2010 and after two low-key years with lots of ground work, he had his coming-out party with 18 WBF championships, mainly in Mexico, during 2012.

The best that could happen to him? Yes and no. Yes, because it proved his value and made him one of the most important WBF administrators. No, because suddenly some other organization, whose name we won’t mention here, felt threatened in their very own territory.

Suddenly, promoters in Mexico were free to choose their affiliation and turned to the WBF, tired of all those things that give boxing a bad name. Ever since, Sotelo is watched, WBF fights are attacked by threats, boycotts and blackmailing.

Still, Sotelo is battling on and does a great job to keep the WBF flag up and flying. We could well do with more people with his backbone and resilience. That’s why Sergio Sotelo is our Administrator of the Year.


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