PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - January 06, 2022  
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Story by John DiSanto
Photos by Ryan Hafey / PBC &
Amanda Westcott / Showtime


Junior featherweight Stephen Fulton achieved his goal of becoming a world champion in 2021. He won the WBO belt with a dominant unanimous decision win over previously undefeated champ Angelo Leo to earn his first world title. However, Fulton wasn't finished in 2021 yet.

Fulton attacks Leo - Photo by Ryan Hafey / PBC

Ten months later, Fulton added the WBC 122-pound belt to his collection with a majority points verdict over unbeaten champ Brandon Figueroa on November 27th. The win proved Fulton was the top fighter in his division and Philly's current top dog. Fulton looked like a future champion through most of his seven-year career, but in 2021 he made it a reality, and had the best year among all Philly other fighters.

Fulton stalks Figueroa - Photo by Amanda Westcott / Showtime

In addition to his new championship belts, Fulton, 20-0, 8 KOs, will add a Briscoe Award to his trophy case. He previously won Briscoe Medals as the "2019 Breakout Fighter of the Year" and for scoring the "2019 Knockout of the Year". Congratulations to Cool Boy Steph for a great year. 2021 belonged to him.

The runners up for this award were Jaron "Boots" Ennis and "King" Gabriel Rosado. Ennis continued to storm toward his first world title shot with two strong performances during the year. In April, Ennis dismantled former junior welterweight champion Sergey Lipinets, dropping him twice en route to a sixth-round knockout victory. Then in October, Ennis closed his year with a stunning first-round knockout of former world title challenger Thomas Dulorme. One of the most experienced opponents he had ever faced, Jaron exploded in the opening frame with two knockdowns over the tested Dulorme. The second knockdown was for the full count. Ennis finished 2021 with a record of 28-0, 26 KOs, 1 No Contest. Ennis remains on the brink of a world championship, and most believe it will happen in 2022.

Gabriel Rosado once again rebooted his exciting and eventful career with arguably the best win of his fifteen-year campaign. Chosen as fodder for 7-0 southpaw knockout artist Bektemir Melikuziev, a highly decorated former amateur from Uzbekistan then being touted by Golden Boy. However, the well-seasoned Rosado survived an early knockdown and went on to blast out Bek with a picture-perfect right hand that dropped the vaunted prospect for the full ten-count in round three. Rosado's stock soared after this victory and earned him a chance against undefeated rising star Jaime Munguia in November. Although Munguia, then 37-0, 30 KOs, won the unanimous decision, Rosado fought well and gave the strong betting favorite plenty of trouble. Who knows what is next for Rosado? But Gaby proved once again that he is a fighter that can never be counted out. He remains relevant and active and always seems just one fight away from winning it all.

Congratulations to Stephen Fulton, Jaron Ennis and Gabriel Rosado for your great 2021 achievements.

More Briscoe Award winners will be announced over the next several days. The Briscoe Awards event will be held in the Spring, location and date to be announced in the near future. 




John DiSanto - Philadelphia - January 06, 2022