Olympic gold medalists, record-setting KOs highlight 2017 Yahoo Sports boxing awards

Kevin Iole
Combat columnist

Every year, there are a few spectacular knockouts that pull fans out of their seats and leave journalists struggling to describe the significance of them.

There were plenty of tremendous knockouts in 2017, including Mikey Garcia’s stoppage of Dejan Zlaticanin; Sri Sor Rungvisai’s KO of Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez and Anthony Joshua’s stoppage of Wladimir Klitschko in their thrilling heavyweight title fight.

None of those, though, is the 2017 Yahoo Sports boxing KO of the Year.

If you haven’t heard of Zolani Tete, the WBO bantamweight champion, you will. And if you happen to catch his knockout of Siboniso Gonya on Nov. 18 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, it’s safe to say you’ll make plans to see him again.

The bell rang, Tete threw a short, crunching right hand, and the fight was over. Gonya was out cold from the very first punch that Tete threw. That is the dictionary definition of KO of the Year.

My other awards:

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields is the 2017 Yahoo Sports female boxing Fighter of the Year. (Getty Images)

Female Fighter of the YearClaressa Shields. The two-time Olympic gold medalist went 3-0 in 2017 with two knockouts and unified the IBF and WBC super middleweight titles. Runners-up: Cecilia Braekhus, Amanda Serrano and Mariano Juarez.

Prospect of the YearTeofimo Lopez, lightweight. Runner-up: Ryan Garcia, super featherweight.

Trainer of the YearDerrick James. Runner-up: Andre Rozier.

Story of the Year – Top Rank’s TV deal with ESPN.

Event of the Year – Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko heavyweight title unification bout before 90,000 at Wembley Stadium in London on April 29. Runner-up: Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor boxing match on Aug. 26 in Las Vegtas.

Promoter of the YearEddie Hearn, Matchroom Boxing.

Person of the YearTodd duBoef, Top Rank.

Previously announced awards

Male Fighter of the YearTerence “Bud” Crawford, super lightweight.

Fight of the YearJoshua TKO11 Klitschko, April 29 in London.