2009 was a typical year for Rogers Mtagwa. He won some and he lost some (1-1). But both of his fights were memorable affairs, and he once again proved himself to be Philadelphia's most exciting fighter of the this era. He may even belong on the all-time list of the most thrilling Philly warriors ever. So you may want to think of this Briscoe as a "lifetime achievement award". Perhaps that is what the voters were thinking. Mtagwa's fights are usually among the very best of the year, and it was no different in 2009.

Rogers brawled his way to victory at the Blue Horizon against tough Ricardo Medina on May 1, 2009. It was a bloody, all-action, 10-round slugfest won by Mtagwa in his typical plucky fashion (W10). It wasn't easy, but it was beautiful.

But that conflict was a mere skirmish compared to his second fight of the year. On October 10, 2009, Mtagwa challenged rising superstar Juan Manuel Lopez for his WBO Super Bantamweight crown. Mtagwa went into the fight as a giant underdog, with little chance against the young champion. But Rogers Mtagwa has always been in the business of surprising his opponents and his fans. The battle he staged against Juanma at Madison Square Garden was nothing short of miraculous. It was a life-and-death struggle that rates as not only boxing's best bout of the year, but one of the best of all time.

Mtagwa tested the talented Juanma and brought him to the very brink of defeat. Behind on points near the end of the fight, Mtagwa went for the KO as the fight came to a close. He rocked the champion at the end of the 11th, and then had Lopez out on his feet through most of the final round. Mtagwa was just one punch away from taking the title and dishing the champion his first-ever loss. Somehow, Juanma stayed on his feet and survived to take the decision based on his early lead. Mtagwa lost the fight, but considering the pedigree of his opponent and the odds against him, it was way more than a moral victory. Of all the great battles he's had in his career, this near upset was the one that Mtagwa will always be remembered for. To everyone who watched, it was boxing's fight of the year, but for Rogers Mtagwa, it was just another day at the office as the ultimate crowd pleaser. 

In 2009, Mtagwa not only earned "Philly Fighter of the Year" honors but once again proved that he is truly a classic Philly fighter. Not bad for a kid from Tanzania.

Rogers Mtagwa will be presented with his Briscoe Award on October 4, 2010 at the Veteran Boxers Association Club in Philadelphia. (PHOTOS)__________________________________________________________________

The other nominees for 2009 Philly Fighter of the Year:
1)  Eddie Chambers (heavyweight)
2)  Derek Ennis (jr. middleweight)
3)  Teon Kennedy (jr. featherweight)



On November 20, 2009, North Philly's Blue Horizon was the site of the Philly Fight of the Year for the third consecutive year. The fight was an amazing two-way war that far exceeded all expectations going in. But what happened in the ring was only part of the story.

Amateur rivals Teon Kennedy and Francisco Rodriguez resumed their feud by waging real warfare in a spectacular and unforgettable contest that played out in three thrilling acts. Both fighters proved their worth in this fight, and by the end, what separated them was very little. The fight was a rollercoaster that placed victory  within reach of both combatants, and Teon and Francisco gave everything they had to win it. 

Kennedy started fast and appeared to have the match in complete control. In fact, Rodriguez barely made it out of the first round. But Rodriguez showed his toughness and answered well. He fought back hard and won over the Blue Horizon crowd - not an easy task for a visitor. By the middle rounds, Rodriguez had Teon in serious trouble and appeared to be on the brink of winning it all. Then, in the final third of the fight, Kennedy miraculously found his way back. He regained control, and scored the stoppage in round ten. Many in the crowd felt the bout was stopped too quickly. Little did they know. The victory brought Kennedy his first title belt as a pro (the regional USBA championship), but the glory was far overshadowed by the tragedy that followed.

After walking back to his corner on his own power, Rodriguez lost consciousness while still in the ring. He was taken to Hahnemann Hospital and underwent brain surgery that same night. Unfortunately, Rodriguez did not recover from his injuries and passed away two days later. He was 25 years old. Many felt the tragedy demonstrated what is wrong with boxing. But we feel that the death of Francisco Rodriguez was a reminder of the stakes that make boxing more than a sport, and make boxers more than athletes.

The fight was promoted by Peltz Boxing Promotions and Joe Hand Promotions.

Teon Kennedy and Francisco's brother Alex Rodriguez will be presented with Briscoe Awards on October 4, 2010 at the Veteran Boxers Association Club in Philadelphia.  (PHOTOS)__________________________________________________________________

The other nominees for 2009 Philly Fight of the Year:
1)  Teon Kennedy W8 Andre Wilson,  March 6, 2009 at the Blue Horizon, promoted by Peltz Boxing Promotions & Joe Hand Promotions.

2)  Anthony Ferrante W8 Billy Bailey, July 10, 2009 at the South Philly Arena, promoted by Shalyte Entertainment (Blaine Garner).

3)  Derrick Ennis W12 Eromosele Albert, October 16, 2009 at the Blue Horizon, promoted by Power Productions (Greg Robinson).



2008 WINNERS (Year #2)


2007 WINNERS (Year #1)