Junior welterweight world champion Danny "Swift" Garcia repeated as "Philly Fighter of the Year" for his 2012 breakthrough on the global boxing scene. After positioning himself for big things by the end of 2011, Garcia realized his championship dreams in his first fight of 2012.

On March 27, Garcia dropped and defeated legend Erik Morales, winning the WBC 140-pound title with a unanimous 12-round decision in Houston, TX. It was a solid victory against a future Hall of Famer, and set the stage for Garcia's championship year.

He followed up the win with a star-making, upset knockout of Amir Khan in Las Vegas, on July 14. The fight was a thriller with Khan jumping out to an early lead before Garcia battled back and lowered the boom on the international star. Garcia won by 4th round TKO and added the WBA and Ring Magazine belts to his WBC championship.

On October 20, Garcia closed out his year by opening Brooklyn, NY's Barclay's Center with a title defense against Erik Morales. Garcia blasted the legend into retirement with a picture-perfect Philly left hook that put Morales down for the count in round four.

Garcia ended the year with a 25-0, 16 KO record, and poised at the very top of the junior welterweight division.

2012 was an incredible year for the three "Philly Fighter of the Year" nominees, Garcia, Bryant Jennings and Gabriel Rosado. All three deserved this award, and Jennings and Rosado might have walked away with the Briscoe in any other year. However, Garcia did what he did his all on the championship level. 

"It feels great," Garcia said about winning another Briscoe Award for Fighter of the Year. "It's not an easy thing to do."

Garcia becomes the first fighter to win the award in two consecutive years. Steve Cunningham is also a two-time winner, but not consecutively (2007 & 2010). 

Danny Garcia will be presented with his Briscoe Award on October 13, 2013 at the Veteran Boxers Association Club in Philadelphia. (PHOTOS)

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The other nominees for 2012 Philly Fighter of the Year:
 
1)  Bryant Jennings (heavyweight)
2)  Gabriel Rosado (jr. middleweight)
 

       
                 
       


On January 21, 2012, two young heavyweights, Bryant Jennings and Maurice Byarm, stepped in on short notice to replace another main event, saved the inaugural broadcast of the "Fight Night" boxing series on the NBC Sports Network, and ended up putting on the Philly Fight of the Year. The bout had an amazing back story. 

No one expected Jennings and Byarm to fight each other on this night. The main event was supposed to be a 10-rounder between Philly's Eddie Chambers and former world champion Sergei Likhovich. However, when Chambers suffered an injury about one week before the fight, the promoters and matchmakers were forced to scramble to save the card and nationally televised show.

Neither fighter had ever been in a bout scheduled for more than six rounds, but the idea of two rising unbeaten prospects, both from Philly, putting their careers on the line in a critical 10-round test with everyone watching sounded like it might just work. Added to the stakes was the fact that the fight was for the PA State Heavyweight Title.

The situation, setting and back story were all good, but it was the actual battle waged in the ring by Jennings and Byarm made it the best fight of 2012.

The fight itself was an active, two-way struggle between two determined boxers. Unlike many heavyweight affairs, this one had an excellent pace and was filled with consistent action.

The fight was close, with the heavier Byarm landing more consistently early on. But Jennings fought in explosive spurts that showed he was the "bigger" guy. Jennings responded to Byarm's offense with sharper and faster punches of his own, and despite the lower KO percentage between the two, Jennings seemed to have the heavier hands.

The fight was more or less even after six rounds. As they entered the new territory of the post 6th round-world, you'd never know either man had yet to experience a fight this long. Both fought through any nerves or fatigue, and continued to throw punches at the other. These guys were hungry and both wanted to win badly.

Down the stretch of the fight, the pattern remained set. The action teetered between the two with Jennings having a slight edge in work rate and power, and as it turned out, his bursts of activity made more of an impression on the judges.

Once the final bell sounded, the decision seemed to be a toss up, but Jennings came away with his record unblemished and the PA State Belt around his waist. However, both boxers left winners.

The fight of the year was promoted by Main Evens and Peltz Boxing Boxing.

Bryant Jennings and Maurice Byarm will be presented with Briscoe Awards
on October 13, 2013 at the Veteran Boxers Association Club in Philadelphia.  (PHOTOS)

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The other nominees for 2012 Philly Fight of the Year:
 
1)  Tevin Farmer W6 Tim Witherspoon Jr., January 13, 2012 at the National Guard Armory, promoted by Power Productions (Greg Robinson).

2)  Jason Sosa D8 Angel Ocasio II, April 20, 2012 at the National Guard Armory, promoted by Power Productions (Greg Robinson).

3)  Eric Hunter W10 Jerry Belmontes, December 8, 2012, promoted by Main Events & Peltz Boxing (Kathy Duva and J Russell Peltz).

 

       
                 
       

The record will forever show that Steve Cunningham lost to Tomasz Adamek on December 22, 2012. But don't believe it. To almost everyone who watched the fight, either at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, PA, or on the first live Saturday afternoon boxing broadcast on national network TV (NBC) in ages, Steve Cunningham put on a clinic in a fight that very few thought he would win.

Fighting as a heavyweight for just the second time in his career, the two-time cruiserweight champ (and two-time Briscoe Awards winner), faced the man who took his first cruiserweight belt, Tomasz Adamek.

The general consensus was that 1) Cunningham was not a legitimate heavyweight, and 2) that Adamek had already proved that he was the better fighter in their first fight when he dropped Cunningham and won by decision. Most thought a heavyweight Adamek would put Cunningham to sleep. However, this was not the case the second time around. Cunningham proved himself like never before.

In the fight, Steve Cunningham out boxed, out thought, and even out punched Adamek throughout the entire fight. The near-perfect performance by Cunningham was perhaps the best of his life, and appeared to redefine his frustrating career.

And then the judges' cards were announced. Adamek took a close split decision. Other than the officials, it was difficult to find a single witness who believed Adamek was the winner.

Regardless of the official result, we were quite impressed with Cunningham's spectacular and surprising performance. It was the best single performance of the the year.

Steve Cunningham will be presented with his Briscoe Medal on October 13, 2013 at the Veteran Boxers Association Club in Philadelphia.  (PHOTOS)
 

 

       
                 
       

For the second year in a row, cruiserweight Garrett Wilson delivered the biggest knockout punch of the year. Last year he did it with a right hand bomb. This year he changed things up with a lethal left hook.

On April 14, 2012, Wilson rematched with Andres Taylor of Johnstown, PA. A couple of years prior, they fought to a draw in Taylor's backyard, but in the second time around, the result was clear cut.

Wilson hurt Taylor a number of times during the fight, but couldn't end the bout until the 12th and final round. When he finally did, the punch and KO was extremely memorable.

This knockout did not have the same drama as Wilson's heroic final round finisher against Chuck Mussachio last year. That KO saved the fight for Garrett who was hopelessly behind on the scorecards. However, this KO against Taylor was every bit as brutal and definite as last year's. 

With the victory, The "Ultimate Warrior" defended his USBA title and picked up the NABF belt at the same time.  

Garrett Wilson will be presented with his Briscoe Medal on October 13, 2013 at the Veteran Boxers Association Club in Philadelphia.  (PHOTOS)
 

 

       
                 
       

Bryant Jennings did so well in 2012, that he almost outgrew the "Prospect of the Year" category. He began 2012 as an unknown 10-0 local hopeful. Five fights later, he was the #3 IBF heavyweight contender.

Jennings went 5-0 (3 KOs) during the year, which began with a win over Maurice Byarm in a battle of rising  unbeaten heavyweights. The win made "By By" the PA State Champion, and was recognized as the "2012 Philly Fight of the Year".

Two months later Jennings stopped former world champion Sergei Liakovich to wake up a sleepy heavyweight division. Suddenly all eyes were on the budding North Philly star.

His other steps in 2012 included a points over Steve Collins to win the USBA title, a 35 second KO of Chris Koval, and a crowd-pleasing USBA defense against Bowie Tupou (KO 5).

No other fighter in recent memory made such a giant career-leap forward in 12 months. With his trademark hard work and winning attitude, Bryant Jennings proved to everyone, inside and outside Philly, that he was for real, and one of the future stars of the heavyweight division. It was quite a year. 

Bryant Jennings will be presented with his Briscoe Medal on October 13, 2013 at the Veteran Boxers Association Club in Philadelphia. Jennings will also pick up the Briscoe Award for the "2012 Philly Fight of the Year". He is the first person to win two awards in the same year. (PHOTOS)
 

 

       
                 
       

The "Rookie of the Year" award is intended to recognize the accomplishments and potential of a first year professional.

There were a few excellent Philly rookies in 2012, but none did it better than Jesse "Hard Work" Hart.

Hart brushed off the frustrating end of his great amateur run by leaping into the pros with
D & D Management
(Doc Nowicki & Dave Price) as his managers and Top Rank as his promoter.

Hart made his debut on the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley championship PPV card in June, winning by 33-second TKO over Manuel Eastman. Four more fights would follow in 2012 against typical young-pro fare. But Hart defeated them all with ease, displaying the talent, size, personality and charisma that should eventually make the son of Philly legend Cyclone Hart a major star in the sport
of boxing.

If this is the beginning, we can't wait to see the rest of Jesse's career. 

Jesse Hart will be presented with his Briscoe Medal on October 13, 2013 at the Veteran Boxers Association Club in Philadelphia.  (PHOTOS)
 

 

       
                 
       

Rasheen Brown, the young West Philly southpaw from the James Shuler Memorial Boxing Gym, won his second straight National Silver Gloves Championship in 2012. He was just 14 years old at the time, and showed everyone just what a good fighter he is already.

Brown has been winning titles for years, and given his age, still has quite a few coming his way in the amateur ranks.

We can only imagine where he'll be by the time he turns professional, years from now. Many think the Olympics will be one of his many stops along the way. Brown is a prodigy in the ring, and now adds the Briscoe Medal to his already crowded trophy case.

Rasheen Brown will be presented with his Briscoe Medal on October 13, 2013 at the Veteran Boxers Association Club in Philadelphia.  (PHOTOS)
 

 

       
                 
       

2011 WINNERS (Year #5)

       
       

2010 WINNERS (Year #4)

       
       

2009 WINNERS (Year #3)

       
       

2008 WINNERS (Year #2)

       
       

2007 WINNERS (Year #1)