Lebedev and Pirog Grab Top Honors at PBFR Awards
By Alexey Sukachev
Following a lengthy voting period for the online fans of the sport, the Professional Boxing Federation of Russia has finally announced its prize-winners for the year of 2010. The results were a bit surprising but it’s necessary to note that fans’ opinions were also taken into account, which has radically changed an entire landscape of preferences.
“The Fighter of the Year” prize was awarded to the WBO's #1 ranked cruiserweight, Denis Lebedev (21-1, 16 KOs), who is also the mandatory challenger to the title currently held by Germany's Marco Huck. Lebedev fought three times in 2010, getting two easy knockouts of Mexican Ignacio Esparza and fellow compatriot Alexander Alekseev before being defeated by Huck on a disputed split call in December.
Lebedev outscored the WBO middleweight champion Dmitry Pirog (18-0, 14 KOs), who produced a poster year in 2010, through the online voting: roughly 48% for Lebedev against 39% for Pirog. The only Russian world champion avenged this “loss” in another nomination. Pirog’s fifth-round TKO over American prospect Daniel Jacobs took the top honors as “The Fight of the Year” and outbid Lebedev for his split loss to Huck. Aslanbek Kozaev TKO 9 over Joaquim Carneiro was the third nominee. Online voting gave the edge to the Lebedev–Huck fight (34%). Pirog against Jacobs was a web runner-up with 25%.
Both Pirog and Lebedev were simultaneously awarded prizes for “The Best Knockout” of 2010. Pirog was honoured for his upset victory over Jacobs, while Lebedev impressed officials with his Tysonesque knockout of Alexander Alekseev (KO 2) in July. Ural Boxing Promotions got an edge over German Titov and Kirill Pchelnikov (GT & KP Boxing Promotions) as “The Promoter of The Year” in 2010.