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Mexican Hernan "Tyson" Marquez is WBA fighter of year

PANAMA CITY, Panama - The World Boxing Association (WBA) held its 19th Annual Awards Dinner attended by over 40 champions and former champions who enjoyed the gala held at the plush Intercontinental Miramar Hotel in Panama City, Panama.

And the WBA annual wards went to:

Top honor Boxer of the Year was awarded to Mexican Hernan "Tyson" Marquez, WBA flyweight champion. "Tyson" Marquez will defend his world title against Filipino Rodel Mayol on March 24 in Ciudad Obregon, Mexico.

First runner up as fighter of the year went to undefeated WBA light flyweight champion Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez (30-0, 25KOs) of Nicaragua.

Best female fighter was for the beautiful undefeated light flyweight world champion "La Titu" Yessica Yolanda Bopp (19-0, 9KOs) of Argentina.

Best fight of the year was awarded to the first thrilling all out power combat between heavy sluggers Hernan "Tyson" Tyson and Luis "El Nica" Conception of Panama.

KO of the year was taken by undefeated WBA junior lightweight champ Takashi Uchiyama (18-0, 15KOs) of Japan, for his devastating knockout victory over Mexican former world champion Jorge "Coloradito" Solis last December 31 in Yokohama.

When Takashi Uchiyama in his first trip to Panama was announced as winner of the KO of the year, the confident tall Japanese world champion stood up and went to the podium to deliver his thank you speech in excellent Spanish which was celebrated by the astonished audience with a huge applause.

Hall-of-fame KO artist former super flyweight world champion Khaosay Galaxy (47-1 41KOs) of Thailand received a WBA award and was a special WBA guest of honor in Panama.

The Most Dramatic Fight of the year was the one starred by undefeated Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios (29-0-1, 22KOs) and Venezuela's Miguel "Aguacerito" Acosta for the WBA lightweight world title in February 2011 in Las Vegas. Rios prevailed by technical KO in the tenth round and is now scheduled to face dangerous undefeated Cuban Yuriorkis Gamboa (21-0, 16KOs) on April 14 in Las Vegas.

The Surprise of the year was the title fight between Mexican Hugo "El Increible" Cazares and Japanese Tomonubo Shimizu. In this fight in Tokyo, unheralded Shimizu captured the WBA super flyweight world title by split decision. Shimizu will unify the WBA super flyweight title against Tepparith Singwancha Abril 4 in Yokohama.

American ring announcer Jimmy Lennon received a special award from the WBA for his contributions to the sport of boxing.

Undefeated Venezuelan light welterweight figher Johan Perez (15-0-1, 12KOs) took the Prospect of the Year award.

Female World champion Jackie Navas of Mexico received her WBA super bantamweight belt during the gala. Navas, know as "La Princesa Azteca" won her WBA belt after defeating Panamanian former world champ Chantall Martinez.

In a special moment, Gilberto Jesus Mendoza handed a WBA belt to former world champion Jaime "Cieguito" Rios of Panama. Rios was WBA light flyweight champion from 1975-1976.

In addition, WBA replica belts were given to former champions Eusebio Pedroza, Jorge Lujan, Hilario Zapata, Alfonso Frazier, Ismael Laguna, Ernesto Marcel, Rafael Concepcion, Rcardo "El Maestrito" Cordoba, Alfonso Lopez, Enrique Pinder, Rigoberto Riasco and Ernesto Marcel among others.

Former world champions Donny Lalonde, John Ruiz, Ricky Hatton, Kahosai Galaxy, legendary trainer don Ignacio "Nacho" Beristain of Mexico, and judge Stanley Christodoulou of South Africa were among of the honorees.

Also, the WBA honored latina female world champions in attendance Hanna Gabriels of Costa Rica, Kina Malpartida of Peru and Jackie Navas of Mexico.

Also in attendance was Panamanian ring legend "Hands of Stone" Roberto Duran.

Other guests included former champion Amir Khan of England, as well as the three Panamanians current world champions Anselmo "Chemito" Moreno (bantamweight world champion), Guillermo "El Felino" Jones (cruserweight world champion) and Celestino "Pelenchin" Caballero (featherweight world champion).

Finally, undefeated featherweight super champion Chris John (46-0-2, 22KOs) of Indonesia was handed the prestigious WBA Fighter of the Decade award. John has been a continuous champion of he WBA since 2003 and is a current champion with 14 title defenses.

WBA's Gilberto Jesus Mendoza, thanked guests by saying "never before we had so many boxing celebrities brought together in one night for this type of event. I really thank everyone for coming."

Top photo: WBA fighter of the year Hernan "Tyson" Marquez of Mexico (L) with first runner up Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez during the WBA annual gala yesterday in Panama.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Carlos Costa.

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