“I don’t feel as if I have a talent. I have a love of work.
What I’ve done is a result of my hard work. I decided to be a champion. …
If I see my goal, I will try to get this goal in any way. I followed
a fight that quickly became a Knockout of the Year and Upset of the
Year contender, underdog Joe Smith Jr. went into enemy territory and
pulled off a stunning first round stoppage of one of the light
heavyweight division's biggest names - Andrzej Fonfara.
Smith - a
relative unknown to many boxing fans from Long Island, N.Y. - came in
with nothing to lose, and fought like it. He began a stretch of punches
that changed his career mid-way through the first round, landing a big
right hand in close that floored Fonfara. The crowd in Fonfara's
hometown - Chicago - was sent into a frenzy.
regrouped and got up, Smith went for broke, continuing to land clean
shots before dropping Fonfara again in the corner. This time, the ref
stopped the fight before Fonfara had a chance to beat the count.
improved to 22-1 with 18 KOs with the thunderous victory, and in the
process announced himself as a new name to remember in the 175-pound
Mission: The object, goal and purpose of the Boxing Writers Association of America is to foster the highest professional and ethical standards in boxing journalism, both print and electronic, and to promote better working conditions for those who cover and report on the sport.
BOXING WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA
object, goal and purpose of the Boxing Writers Association of America
is to foster the highest professional and ethical standards in boxing
journalism, both print and electronic, and to promote better working
conditions for those who cover and report on the sport.
BWAA is a natural outgrowth of an organization born in February 1926 in
a midtown Manhattan hotel and christened the Boxing Writers Association
of Greater New York. The group was formed to improve conditions at
boxing shows for New York writers and their visiting colleagues and, in a
general sense, to enhance the sport as a whole.
the seven founding fathers of the organization, many came from
newspapers long vanished from the city’s newsstands: The New York Sun,
Evening World, American, Evening Graphic and the Bronx Home News.
of those Jazz Age journalists who were among the BWAA’s pioneers,
however, went on to become famous in allied fields of writing. Damon
Runyon and Paul Gallico graduated to short-story and script writing. Ed
Sullivan of the Graphic later became an internationally famous columnist
for the New York Daily News and a major television personality. Nat
Fleischer stayed closer to home and went on to found The Ring magazine.
after the founding of the BWAA’s forerunner, the group decided to stage
a dinner to celebrate the achievements of those within boxing, with the
hope that the affair would become an annual event. It did and is still
running strong today.
The annual awards dinner quickly
became the cornerstone of the BWAA’s yearly activities and its
principal source of revenue. After hotel hopping for several years, the
BWAA found a permanent home for the dinner, with the repeal of
Prohibition, at the famed Ruppert Brewery on the upper Eastside of New
It was there that the BWAA first presented an
award of its own. The year was 1938 and the award was named the Edward
J. Neil Trophy in honor of one of its founding fathers, an Associated
Press sports reporter who was killed on assignment while covering the
Spanish civil war.
The original deed of the award
stated that it be given to “an individual who did the most for boxing in
the previous year.” The first honoree was former heavyweight champion
Jack Dempsey, who had been retired for several years. Gradually, the
award went to those voted Fighter of the Year.
years later, the James J. Walker Award was established in honor of the
former New York mayor and state legislator who in 1920 sponsored the law
that saved professional boxing in New York. The award is for long and
meritorious service to boxing.
The BWAA finally got
around to honoring its own in 1972 with the Nat Fleischer Award for
excellence in boxing journalism, established to honor the memory of one
of the BWAA’s founding fathers. Additional awards have been established
to recognize accomplishments in the sport and to preserve the memory of
some of its most notable members.
The BWAA plays a
significant role in the enshrinement of new members of the International
Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y. Full members of the BWAA are
polled for their insight on each year’s pool of eligible fighters. The
results heavily influence each class of inductees.
annual writing contest, known as the Barney Awards in honor of the late
president of the BWAA Barney Nagler, was started by BWAA president
Bernard Fernandez in 2001. The Barneys are open to all BWAA members who
had stories published in the calendar year running Jan. 1 through Dec.
31. An annual photography contest was added in 2004.
dues for membership are $40, or a sum to be determined by a vote of the
officers and board of directors, for both full and associate
membership. Dues should be payable upon submission of a member’s
end-of-the-year award ballot.
Today, with members
nationwide and from several countries, the BWAA has moved into the 21st
century representing print and online journalists. Qualified journalists
interested in joining should see our “Members” page.
This list is intended to show a wide range of boxing-related Web sites, books and videos that may be of interest to BWAA members and site visitors. The BWAA does not specifically endorse any resource listed.