Nothing excites a boxing fan like a good knockout. This year delivered the KO goods in style, with some truly impressive knockouts nearly every weekend.
CBS Sports’ combat experts sat down to look through some of the year’s biggest knockouts to determine the winner of our annual Knockout of the Year. We settled on a brutal knockout that ended weeks of trash talk, a dramatic come-from-behind KO and the return of boxing’s biggest one-punch powerhouse.
Let’s take a look at the knockouts that topped our list.
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Winner: Caleb Plant knocks out Anthony Dirrell
There was plenty of bad blood between Plant and Dirrell heading into their fight this past October. Trash talk, custom t-shirts and guarantees of violence flowed from both fighters, but it was. After generally being the better fighter round after round, Plant dipped to the body with a hook before coming right back with a hook to the head that sent Dirrell crashing to the canvas unconscious. Plant caught some heat after the knockout for his “gravedigger” celebration over his unconscious foe, but it was a big statement win for Plant and came on maybe the best single punch of his career.
Leigh Wood knocks out Michael Conlan
Conlan knocked down Wood in the first round of their March clash and continued to largely control the fight as the rounds ticked by. Wood was gutsy and would not go away, continuing to fire back even as Conlan piled up rounds on the scorecards. Then, in Round 11, things flipped in a very dramatic way. Toward the end of the round, Wood managed to land a left hand that sent Conlan to the canvas. Still likely down on the scorecards, Wood needed to do more work in the fight’s final round. After some more back and forth action, Wood managed to back Conlan into the ropes before landing a right hand that knocked Wood out cold — and out of the ring — to.
Deontay Wilder knocks out Robert Helenius
There’s no denying that Wilder is one of the hardest punchers in boxing history. After ending his rivalry with Tyson Fury, Wilder was looking to get back in the win column when he took on Helenius. He did so emphatically in the most Wilder of ways, landing a single right hand to. It wasn’t the hardest or most brutal punch of Wilder’s career, which may be why it was so impressive. Wilder threw the right hand without full extension and Helenius’ switch was flipped. Not many men can claim to possess the power to do what Wilder did on that October night.
Others receiving votes: Jordan Gill knocks out Karim Guerfi