2023 has been a great year for boxing, with a Fight of the Year list that has grown seemingly every weekend. But alongside the heaps of all-action battles, there have been some big-time knockouts.
From championship-winning shots to lesser-known fighters making a name with serious one-shot power, there have been plenty of knockouts to please even the most discerning boxing fan, including in the biggest fight of the year, when Gervonta Davis put Ryan Garcia down with a body shot on April 22.
Below is a running list of the best boxing knockouts in 2023. This page will be continuously updated throughout the year, so check back frequently to see new entries.
Liam Smith def. Chris Eubank Jr. (Jan. 21)
Smith entered his fight with Eubank as a very live underdog. Few, if anyone, believed a Smith upset would come by early stoppage. After a strong start by Eubank, Smith turned things around in Round 4, landing a hard flurry that sent Eubank to the canvas. While Eubank was able to beat the count, a follow-up flurry from Smith resulted in one of the more shocking knockout upsets of recent years. Eubank was also left with grotesque swelling under his eye as a result of the Smith assault. Eubank's team was quick to say they'd activate the rematch clause for the fight and the pair are expected to rematch later in 2023.
Alexis Rocha def. George Ashie (Jan. 28)
Rocha was originally set to face Anthony Young but instead ended up across the ring from short-notice replacement Ashie. It didn't take Rocha long to realize that Ashie didn't have the power to hurt him. After that realization, Rocha chose to charge face-first into Ashie's offense to land his own big shots before a right-hand bomb laid out Ashie and ended the fight. After the win, Rocha called for a fight with Terence "Bud" Crawford and one month later, the WBO ordered the matchup, putting Rocha in position for the biggest fight of his career.
Mauricio Lara def. Leigh Wood (Feb. 18)
For nearly all of seven rounds, Wood showed that he had been overlooked by most coming into the fight. It only takes one shot from Lara to change a fight, however, and that shot came late in Round 7. Both men dipped and twisted their hips to fire off left hooks, but it was Lara who got there first and hardest, cracking Wood on the chin and sending him flat on his back to the canvas. Wood beat the count but his corner waived off the fight. Given Wood entered as WBA featherweight champion, he had a rematch clause baked into the contract and Wood said after the fight that he "absolutely" wanted a rematch.
Eduardo Nunez def. Jesus Martin Ceyca (March 4)
Nunez vs. Ceyca wasn't a fight on anyone's radar, but that didn't stop Nunez from using it to cement himself in the conversation for Knockout of the Year. In the second round, Nunez hopped forward and unloaded a right hand that immediately put Ceyca to sleep. The knockout was Nunez's 24th, maintaining his 100% career knockout rate while handing Ceyca the first defeat of his professional career.
Diego Pacheco def. Jack Cullen (March 11)
Some knockouts come by one big shot, others by an accumulation of punches. Pacheco's finish of Cullen falls firmly in the latter camp. First, a brutal left hand to the body put Cullen on the canvas. Cullen managed to get to his feet, but rather than go back to the body, Pacheco threw a five-punch combo to the head that crumbled Cullen and forced the referee to jump in and halt the bout in the fourth round. Pacheco stayed undefeated with the win and took advantage of the opportunity to main event when Callum Smith was injured and forced out of his fight with Pawel Stepien.
Brian Mendoza def. Sebastian Fundora (April 8)
Fundora entered his fight with Mendoza as a heavy favorite and was expected to cruise and retain his position as a mandatory challenger to the undisputed junior middleweight titles. Instead, Fundora's reckless style of disregarding his massive physical advantages at 6-foot-6 allowed Mendoza to land a cracking hook and right hand to put Fundora on the canvas for one of the most shocking knockouts of the year as a massive underdog.
David Morrell def. Yamaguchi Falcao (April 22)
Morrell has proven to have scary power in his short but already-impressive career. He entered his bout with Falcao on the undercard of Gervonta Davis vs. Ryan Garcia after seeing the devastating effects of that power. Morrell knocked out Aidos Yerbossynuly in a result that saw Yerbossynuly placed in a medically-induced coma. The Cuban fighter showed no hesitation to let his punches go despite the tragedy of the Yerbossynuly fight. It took less than one round for Morrell to drop Falcao twice, the second of which left Falcao out cold on the canvas.
Gervonta Davis def. Ryan Garcia (April 22)
In the biggest fight of the year, Davis faced off with Garcia in a blockbuster event. The fight was competitive, with both young fighters looking to land big shots. It was Davis who struck first, dropping Garcia hard with a left hand in the second round. Garcia was able to quickly return to his feet and fight on, but it was clear Davis' power may simply be too much for Garcia. That proved out in Round 7 when Davis landed a sharp left hand to Garcia's body. The liver shot caused a delayed knockdown and Garcia was unable to get to his feet as the referee counted to 10.
Junto Nakatani def. Andrew Moloney (May 20)
Going up in weight to 115 pounds, Nakatani was quick to make a big splash against a longtime top contender in Andrew Moloney. Nakatani, a former flyweight champion, dominated the fight from the jump, outboxing Moloney and dropping him after a series of uppercuts. A game Moloney continued to try and find a way to make things work against a man who was a heavier hitter and a better boxer, but his corner was on the verge of stopping the fight before allowing their fighter to go out for the 12th and final round. That proved to be a mistake as Nakatani unloaded a massive right hand that put Moloney to sleep in the clubhouse leader for Knockout of the Year.