Report/Photos: Boxing Bob Newman
The unofficial end of the IBF 38th annual convention in Chicago came with the annual awards dinner tonight in the International Ballroom at the Fairmont Hotel. Scottish ring announcer Craig Stephen conducted the affair with stylish aplomb. The awards were as follows:
Jersey Joe Walcott Award
Naoya Inoue- In spectacular fashion, Inoue unified the Bantamweight division with a second-round knockout win over Nonito Donaire. Naoya won the IBF title in 2019 and defended six times. Accepting the award for Inoue was Masatoshi Ueda.
Female Fighter of the Year
Chantelle Cameron who unified the Female Jr. Welterweight division. Accepting the award for Cameron was Matchroom’s Tom Dallas.
Fight of the Year
IBF– Sivenathi Nontshinga vs. Hector Flores (Vacant Jr. Flyweight title)
Female – Katie Taylor vs. Amada Serrano (Undisputed Lightweight title)
Intercontinental – Mark Heffron vs. Lennox Clarke (Super Middleweight)
USBA – Robeisy Ramirez vs. Abraham Nova (Featherweight)
Most Active Promoter: Matchroom & TGB Promotions (tied)
Intercontinental Most Active Promoter: Agon Sports
IBF Female Title Most Active Promoter: Matchroom Boxing
Europe Most Active Promoter: Wasserman Boxing
USBA Most Active Promoter: Top Rank
Asia Oceania Most Active Promoter: Jimmy’s Boxing
International Most Active Promoter: Queensberry
Continental Africa Most Active Promoter: Rumble Africa
Pan Pacific Most Active Promoter: D & L Events
Championship Ring for three defenses: Jessica McCaskill & Murodjon Akhmadaliev
Former IBF Featherweight champion Billy Dib was awarded a commemorative belt for winning the biggest fight of his life against Cancer last year. MC Craig Stephen did well to control his emotions as did the room while telling the events that were Dib’s story. Dib came up and exuded the joy and positivity that has been the very essence of who he is.
The IBF lost one of its pioneer members in Al Meier last year. They presented a special belt to Meier’s daughter Pam who tearfully accepted and urged the IBF to keep on doing what they’re doing.
Artist Patrick Killian painted the mural which adorns the convention’s souvenir program and t-shirts- depicting the first ever IBF sanctioned title fight- Marvin Hagler vs Wilford Scypion, behind the Chicago skyline. The framed portrait was bought by IBF board member Aaron Kizer, who had tendered his resignation last year to care for his ailing wife (dementia) who passed a month later in June, 2022. Kizer returned to the IBF board when they refused his resignation, telling him he could return when he was ready. Kizer has asked that the Killian painting be hung in the IBF offices.
The family of former IBF board member Eddie Cotton came to the stage to talk about the work that their Eddie Cotton Foundation has done, for instance with their annual bike giveaway (over 100 bikes last Christmas) and credited the efforts of IBF president Daryl Peoples and IBF public relations head Jeanette Salazar- presenting them with framed certificates.
The WBO vice president Gino Rodriguez took the mic to congratulate the IBF on 40 years of excellence and best wishes for the future.
Champs and contenders LeeRoy Murphy, Koki Kameda, Andrew Golota, Luis Nuñez, Billy Dib, Subriel Matias and Murodjon Akhmadaliev returned to the stage for one last photo op for and with attendees.
And with that, the music played, the dance floor filled with those who felt the urge come over them, spirits flowed and dessert was enjoyed.