It's that time of the year (or it might even be a bit late) to recap the best of kickboxing in 2012 now that it's over. We saw some great fights, great knockouts, fighters who had breakout years and great events.
Fighter of the Year
I know some are going to say Semmy Schilt here but ultimately I had to go with Giorgio Petrosyan, the LiverKick #1 ranked middleweight. He fights in the deepest division in kickboxing and still completely dominates it, being in my opinion the undisputed best kickboxer in the world. With four top ten at the time wins on the year, he went undefeated again in 2012. Another reason why I chose Petrosyan over Schilt is because all of his wins were in the regular 3x3 fight format, whereas Schilt had the same number of top ten wins as Petrosyan but three of them were in the 2x2 format. Some people also won't like this, but Petrosyan really has no huge physical advantages over his opponents, as they all weigh in at 70kg or under. The bottom line is that Giorgio Petrosyan had another excellent year and remains the number one kickboxer in the world.
Honorable mentions: Semmy Schilt (LiverKick #1 Heavyweight), Murthel Groenhart (LiverKick #2 Middleweight)
Fight of the Year
It was actually kind of disappointing that there weren't that many candidates for this award, but unfortunately there are a ton of fights that we don't have any video of so we only have so much to work with. On a positive note, Genji Umeno vs. Chang Hyun Lee was an amazing fight and I feel that it was the best of 2012. Umeno came into the fight a heavy favorite, with Lee being a complete unknown. The result was a highly competitive, action packed fight with Umeno possibly having the edge until getting dropped in the third round. Lee came away with the decision win and stole the show, which featured the entire K-1 Final 16 at heavyweight.
Honorable mentions: Dzhabar Askerov vs. Robin van Roosmalen (LiverKick #3 Middleweight), Hirotaka Urabe (LiverKick #9 Lightweight) vs. Naoki Ishikawa III
KO of the Year
This one actually crept up on me at the last minute, as I almost forgot about it. Thankfully I remembered because Shuichi Wentz's high kick knockout of Romie Adanza at the K-1 US Grand Prix in Los Angeles on September 8 was brutal, unexpected and scary all in one. The ensuing reaction after the knockout made it that much better, but also made it that much worse, if that makes any sense. Adanza was out cold, stiffened up and twitching.
Event of the Year
I was looking at what people were saying the event of the year was and was quite surprised that no one mentioned the GLORY 70kg First 16 in Stockholm, Sweden on May 26. Top to bottom it was a great show with great fights. It had one of the honorable mentions for fight of the year in Askerov vs. van Roosmalen. It also had big upsets such as Davit Kiria's win over Kem Sitsongpeenong, as well as the emergence of some of the breakout fighters of the year in Sanny Dahlbeck and the aforementioned Kiria. Nieky Holzken vs. Alex Harris was another great fight with a great finish. Overall it was just a great event from top to bottom.
Honorable mentions: It's Showtime 54/55 (January 28), It's Showtime 57/58 (June 30)
Prospect of the Year
I was hesitant to proclaim Roman Mailov as the prospect of the year because he has two really tough fights coming up that I think he might lose but nevertheless, Mailov is the definition of a prospect that was built up really well in 2012. His year started in March where he had his first fight at 70kg, moving up from his previous weight of 63.5-65kg. He kept winning while gradually increasing the level of competition in front of him. Overall, he went 9-0 in 2012 and was signed to GLORY by the end of the year. Like I mentioned before, he has some very tough fights coming up (Yuta Kubo on January 14) where he's being thrown into deep waters, but in 2012 I don't think there was another fighter who was built up so well.
Honorable mentions: Alim Nabiev, Vitaly Lisnyak