ESPN channel awarded the absolute heavyweight champion of the world Oleksandr Usyk with the title of the best boxer of the passing year.
Rafael's Fighter of the Year award became the symbol of Usyk's great success in 2018. As is known, during the year, the Ukrainian fought in three bouts, winning all of them. In March, he defeated Latvian Mairis Briedis and took his WBC champion's belt. Then, in summer, Usyk outmatched Russia's Murat Gassiev in the final of WBSS tournament; beating his opponent, the Ukrainian became the fourth boxer of all time to claim all four champion belts in the professional boxing (WBC, WBA, WBO and IBF).
As the absolute undefeated champion of the world, Usyk debuted in England where he KO'd the renowned British fighter Tony Bellew. After the bout, Bellew called Usyk 'the great champion'.
Apart from the Ukrainian, the ESPN also considered candidacies of Vasyl Lomachenko, Mikey Garcia, Anthony Joshua and Maurice Hooker, the WBO champion in the middleweight division.
Previously, Sports Illustrated dubbed Usyk fighter of the year. Sports Illustrated placed him fourth in the ranking of the best boxers regardless of the weight category.