Beltway Boxing 2016 saw numerous locals make out of town trips in attempts to further their careers. Locals traveled to 18 states and five countries. A few of those trips were made at the highest level of the sport as three Beltway Boxers participated in world title bouts.
On April 16, Gary Russell, Jr. made a successful defense of the WBC Featherweight title scoring a second-round TKO over Patrick Hyland in Mashantucket, CT. Two other locals were unable to capture world titles in their bids. Dominic Wade lost by second-round knockout to Gennady Golovkin for the Unified World Middleweight title on April 23 in Inglewood, CA and Thomas Williams, Jr. lost by fourth-round KO to Adonis Stevenson for the WBC Light Heavyweight title on July 29 in Quebec City, Canada.
Some prospects used road trips very successfully to become contenders. Jarrett Hurd won two nationally-televised contests by knockout in June and November to place himself in the top 10 among super welterweights in the WBA, WBC and IBF. Mike Reed won four times in 2016 and is now ranked sixth by the WBO at super lightweight. Also, Gervonta Davis scored two knockouts to place himself in the top 10 in the IBF at super featherweight and in line for a world title bout in January.
The voyages by our better-known Beltway Boxers left very sparse action inside the Beltway in 2016 as far as local action was concerned. The Beltway hosted 18 cards in 2016, one less than 2015. However, DC and Northern Virginia increased their number of cards -- DC had eight cards (one more than the previous year) and Northern Virginia hosted seven (three more than 2015). Maryland had just three cards in 2016 but that looks to change with the opening of the MGM Casino at National Harbor.
DC had an interesting year as four of their cards were shown on national television within a two-month period. There were five world title bouts during that time period -- none involving Beltway Boxers. However, DC, working with a new commission, became a solid player in 2016.
Northern Virginia, specifically, the ABC Sports Complex in Springfield, was the home of many regional title bouts and one world title contest. Tori Nelson captured the vacant UBF and WIBA Super Middleweight titles with a 10-round unanimous decision over Alicia Napoleon on December 10. Alexandru Marin won the IBO International Bantamweight title with a third-round TKO over Johnny Determan on June 11. Travis Reeves earned one state and one regional title in 2016.
On the amateur side, Beltway Boxers participated at the highest level of competition. Gary Antuanne Russell competed in the Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, falling just one bout short of earning a medal. Lorenzo Simpson captured his sixth consecutive National Silver Gloves championship. Noted female amateurs Franchon Crews and Tiara Brown made long-awaited pro debuts.
Tomorrow -- we will announce our first three awards -- Rookie of the Year, Prospect of the Year and Bout of the Year.