PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - January 19, 2022  
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Story by John DiSanto
Photos by Darryl Cobb Jr.  / Instagram: darrylcobbjr


Despite the ongoing Covid pandemic, nineteen fight cards took place within the Philadelphia City limits in 2021. In total, these cards offered 128 individual bouts. Of all those matches, the best fight of the year was not the most hyped event. It didn't involve the biggest names of the sport, or even top names from the local scene. The fight wasn't the most eagerly awaited match of the year either. In fact, this battle wasn't really anticipated at all. From the fans' perspective, it kind of came out of nowhere. The bout was just a good pairing of two lesser-known, hard-working local fighters. And that truly paid off for the 1,100 boxing fans who saw it. Much credit goes to the matchmakers, but more than anything else, this great fight was made by the boxers. They fought for it and they alone made this the "Fight of the Year". 

When North Philly's Christopher Burgos and Coatesville-based Mexican Gerardo Martinez squared off in the first-ever boxing show at the brand new Live! Casino in South Philly, most thought it was merely a six-round time filler before the evening's main event. Sure, Burgos and Martinez had fought before, with Martinez winning a four-round nod back in 2017. However on November 18, 2021, no one had an inkling of what the rematch might bring.

From the opening bell, both fighters worked hard to win the contest, and in the process staged a non-stop, all-action brawl that stole the show and wound up being the most memorable and entertaining fight in Philadelphia during 2021. 

The action see-sawed back and forth, with both boxers having their moments and each inflicting their share of punishment. There were no knockdowns, and the fight always felt like it would reach the final bell. But every second of this dramatic fight was grueling for the fighters and thrilling for the fans. After six tough and exhausting rounds, Christopher Burgos emerged the upset winner by unanimous six-round decision. The win improved Burgos' record to 3-4-1, 1 KO, while Martinez slipped to 5-2, 1 KO. But both fighters created something special with volume punching, heart, and grit. This was a classic club fight, which is quite fitting for a Philadelphia fighting award.

The fact that this fight, so modest on paper, earned the Briscoe Award should also send the message to every boxer who appears in Philadelphia that they too can be rewarded with a Briscoe, as long as they come to fight, and in true Philly fashion, give it everything they've got. Burgos and Martinez did exactly this, and we thank them for their great effort. Together they delivered the "Fight of the Year" to us all.

Another fight between the two would be welcomed. The good news is both fighters are scheduled to return to Live! Casino, in separate bouts, in February. Let's hope this proves to be a step toward a third fight between them to settle their rivalry.

Congratulations go to the fighters, Christopher Burgos and Gerardo Martinez, the promoters, Joe Hand Promotions and BAM Boxing Promotions, as well as to matchmakers Zac Pomilio and J Russell Peltz. All of you are responsible for this excellent fight, and share in this award.

The runners up for this award were: 

June 5, 2021 at the 2300 Arena 
Promoted by Marshall Kauffman's Kings Promotions
This was a bloody and brutal bout with Robinson establishing an early lead. He out-boxed and bloodied Pllana in the first few rounds before Pllana worked his way back into the fight with a heavy body attack. Robinson rallied briefly, but Pllana knocked Robinson down in the seventh and closed the show in the eighth and final round. This was probably the most brutal fight of the year, and certainly one of the best.

November 27, 2021 at the 2300 Arena
Promoted by Rodney Rice's RDR Promotions
This was the most anticipated match-up of the year with two rising, unbeaten Philly welterweights meeting early in their career in an eight-round main event. Kroll almost ended the fight in round one, but Dawson was too tough to let that happen. Kroll controlled most of the remainder of the bout, which was tougher than expected, and won the unanimous decision. However, Dawson made his own dramatic statement with his display of heart and durability. This match up was that of a local "big" fight, and although the bout didn't quite match its allure, it was still one of the very best of the year.

There are still more Briscoe Award winners to announce. Watch this website and social media for those announcements. The Briscoe Awards event will be held in the Spring, with the location and date to be announced in the near future. 




John DiSanto - Philadelphia - January 19, 2022