In 2007, Cunningham won and defended the IBF cruiserweight title on hostile soil against quality home-towners and still came away on top.  Steve
won his world title belt by beating defending champion Krzysztof Wlodarczyz by 12-round decision in a rematch on May 26, 2007 in Poland. Cunningham closed out his year with an exciting and emphatic 12th round TKO defense over Marco
Huck on December 29th in Germany.  

Cunningham, a true globe-trotting champion, is a West Philly native who looks to be in the title mix for years to come.  Steve went 2-0 in 2007 and finished the year with a 21-1 (11 KO) record.

Cunningham attends all the local fight cards and has made himself an approachable champion for the people of Philadelphia. However, as a fighter, he's fought at home only once. Let's hope he can land a title defense in his hometown and bring championship boxing back to the City of Brotherly Love.

Steve Cunningham received his Briscoe award on October 22, 2008 at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.  (PHOTOS)

The other nominees for 2007 Philly Fighter of the Year:
 
1)  Eddie Chambers (heavyweight)
2)  Bernard Hopkins (light-heavyweight)
3)  Mike Jones (welterweight)

 

       
                 
       


On December 7, 2007, North Philly's Blue Horizon was the site for a savage jr. welterweight brawl that fit nicely into the legendary fight club's storied history.  The 8-round main event bout featured a visiting prospect against a battle-tested local journeyman.

The fight started as expected with the highly favored Shmouel of Tele Aviv, Israel, 18-1 (9 KO), taking control and dropping North Philly's DeVictoria, 9-10 (3 KO), in the 2nd.  But DeVictoria, known as "The Hitman", was out to prove that he was better than his sub-500 record indicated.  In the most thrilling Philly fight in years, DeVictoria fought the fight of his life and stormed back to win the breathtaking fight with a bloody and brutal TKO in the 6th round.  The contest was the last main event of 2007 and it blew away its stiff competition for this award in 18 heart-pounding minutes.  The bout was promoted by Blue Horizon Boxing Promotions - Vernoca Michael, promoter & Don Elbaum, matchmaker. (photo courtesy of www.phillykeith.com)

Lenny DeVictoria (PHOTOS) and Elad Shmouel (PHOTOS) received their Briscoe awards in separate ceremonies in the Blue Horizon ring on
December 5, 2008 & February 6, 2009 (respectively). 
 

The other nominees for 2007 Philly Fight of the Year:
 
1)  Joshua Onyango W6 Gabriel Rosado I,  March 23, 2007 at the National Guard Armory by Power Productions.

2)  Bronco McKart W12 Enrique Ornelas I, August 10, 2007 at the New Alhambra by Peltz Boxing, Golden Boy Promotions, & Joe Hand Promotions.

3)  Richard Stewart D8 Jameel Wilson, October 19, 2007, at the Wachovia Spectrum by Power Productions.

 

       
                 
       




Born: February 8, 1943, Augusta, GA

Since Bennie Briscoe was the inspiration for this award, it was only fitting that the very first casting of the "Briscoe" be for the man himself.  Briscoe fought professionally for 20 years, from 1962-1982, logging an overall record of 66-24-5-1, with 53 KOs.  During his career, Briscoe won the welterweight and middleweight PA state titles and the NABF middle-weight crown.  He also fought for the world middleweight championship three times.  He headlined boxing shows all over the world and was one of Philadelphia's biggest-ever box office attractions.  He fought numerous ring standouts and competed in many, many memorable fights.  He was always a fighter for the boxing fan as well as the ultimate example of a Philly fighter.  His workmanlike style was relentless and exciting.  Philly fans loved what Briscoe did in the ring even more than his opponents hated it.  Briscoe was elected to the PA Boxing Hall of Fame in 2007. Bennie received his Briscoe award in a private ceremony in 2008.

 

       
                 
       




Born: August 9, 1927, Manayunk, PA

A beloved former light-heavyweight champion, Harold Johnson is one of the true living legends of Philly boxing history.  Johnson was a master technician in the ring.  He was smart and careful - a quick, fluid, jabbing boxer with a hard punch that surfaced only when the time was perfect to reveal it.  Johnson won the NBA title, his first piece of the 175-pound crown, by stopping Jesse Bowdry in 1961.  He gained recognition as the world champ a year later when he defeated Doug Jones.  In all, Johnson compiled a career record of 76-11 with 32 KOs against an impressive list of foes like Archie Moore, Ezzard Charles, Henry Hank, Jersey Joe Walcott, Bob Satterfield, Jimmy Bivins, and others.  His pro career spanned 25 years, 1946-1971.  At 81 years old, Johnson is Philadelphia's oldest living champion.  He was elected to the PA Boxing Hall of Fame in 1974 and entered the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993.  Johnson, who had been out of the public eye for more than a decade, became the first person to receive a Briscoe Award in a public setting when he accepted his trophy at the 2008 PA Hall of Fame banquet on
May 18, 2008.   (PHOTOS)

 

       
                 
       



 
Born: December 9, 1946, Philadelphia

The Briscoe Award is not only for fighters.  For his great contribution to the sport of boxing, and for the single-handed accomplishment of designing perhaps the greatest era of Philly boxing history, the 1970s, promoter J Russell Peltz became the first non-boxer honored with a Briscoe Award.  He launched his career as a 22-year old boy wonder at the Blue Horizon.  He eventually moved on to stage bigger events in larger venues.  But it was when he was installed as the Spectrum's house promoter in 1973 that his magic became apparent.  Month after month, Peltz presented terrific boxing events, tapping the bulging list of Philly's ring talent.  The "Spectrum Fights" ran through 1980.  During this period, Peltz developed Matthew Saad Muhammad, Jeff Chandler, Tyrone Everett, Curtis Parker, Cyclone Hart, Willie Monroe and many others.  He also charted the most fertile period of Bennie Briscoe's great career and guided him to his trio of title shots.  Even with just a cursory glance, it is abundantly clear how important Peltz is to the history of Philadelphia boxing.  He was elected to the PA Boxing Hall of Fame in 1978, the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2004 and the NJ Boxing Hall of Fame in 2008.  Peltz received
his Briscoe Award on November 13, 2008 at the NJ Boxing Hall of Fame
induction ceremony.   (PHOTOS)