United Boxing Promotions presents its eight nominees for 2023 United Moment of the Year, which will be decided by fan vote on United’s social media platforms during the month of December.
The list features three IBO championship fights, two monstrous knockouts and seven different United-signed fighters.
December 8 | Cook-Godoy vs. Wagner IBO Triumph
December 10 | Phinn 1st-Rd KO vs. Smither IBO Homecoming
December 12 | The Return of Gisu vs. Kemahl Caves In Ortiz
December 14 | Watpool Stops Flores vs. All-United IBO Title
April 29 • Cook vs. Godoy
Fans at the sold-out Pickering Casino Resort were treated to a 10-round war in late April, as Brandon ‘Bad Boy’ Cook overcame a severe bicep injury to score a split-decision win over Gino ‘El Aspero’ Godoy in a fight which generates buzz to this day.
Both men vaulted up the global rankings, and went on to score knockouts later in 2023.
July 8 • Wagner vs. Herrera
In co-feature action at Barrie’s Sadlon Arena this past summer, Josh ‘The Boss’ Wagner earned the best win of his career with a bloody IBO Americas Welterweight triumph over game Argentinian Williams Herrera.
Now ranked in the Top 25 globally by the IBO, Wagner has big plans for 2024 — and the lessons learned over 10 hard rounds en route to a unanimous decision win against Herrera will serve him well.
October 21 • Phinn’s First-Round KO
If there was any doubt Shakeel Phinn was ready for the world stage, he erased it in two minutes of work at the Pickering Casino Resort.
‘The Jamaican Juggernaut’ floored the typically durable Uruguayan Rafael Sosa Pintos in the first round, sending the veteran into retirement with a pulsing shot to the temple.
> FULL FIGHT: PHINN VS. SOSA PINTOS (via No Finish Sports Media)
Combined with an IBO Americas title victory in May over Ryan Young, Phinn had a sterling 2023 and will have his eye on bigger game next year.
July 8 • Mark Smither’s Homecoming
A confident performance saw ‘Marvellous’ Mark Smither claim the IBO Americas Super Lightweight strap in front of a legion of friends and family at Barrie’s Sadlon Arena in July.
Smither dominated José Jasso over 10 rounds in an electric atmosphere, moving to 3-0 on the year in the process and 12-0 overall.
July 8 • The Return of Gisu Lee
An unknown quantity entering his Canadian debut, Gisu ‘Terminator’ Lee announced his presence with a thundering second-round knockout of veteran Cody Kelly in Barrie.
> GISU LEE STOPS CODY KELLY (No Finish Sports Media)
The statement was clear enough — Lee looked like a tank, Kelly had never been stopped before — and United signed the former Korean champion the following week.
December 2 • Kemahl Caves In Ortiz
Jamaican middleweight Kemahl ‘The Hitman’ Russell became a fan favourite at the Pickering Casino Resort in 2023, and capped the year with a destructive third-round stoppage of reigning Mexican champion Rafael Ortiz in December.
Russell closed the night with a showman’s flair, landing theatric windmill punches.
From Jamaica to the world
Middleweight Kemahl ‘The Hitman’ Russell (16-1, 14 KO) stopped Mexican champion Rafael Ortiz inside three rounds on Saturday.
— United Promotions (@unitedpromotion) December 5, 2023
He also stopped Ortiz a full three rounds earlier than Etinosa Oliha, the IBO’s current World Champion, did in February. Stay tuned.
May 27 • Watpool Stops Lopez
Further motivated by Lopez pulling out of a fight one month earlier, world-ranked super middleweight Melinda Watpool pummeled the 13-1 Mexican contender into a fourth-round retirement at the CAA Centre in Brampton on the Singh-Narwat undercard.
Watpool stayed busy in 2023, racking up four victories and ascending to #4 in the WBA’s world rankings.
May 27 • Young-Phinn All-United IBO Clash
Two talented veterans of the Canadian boxing scene collided that same night in the Co-Feature event at the CAA Centre, as Shakeel Phinn claimed the IBO Americas Super Middleweight belt with a unanimous decision win over Ryan Young.
Phinn’s footwork and defensive prowess carried the day in a 10-round contest which entertained the Brampton crowd from start to finish.
The fight was also unique as a United vs. United clash.