Mulholland, Ngobeh And Bello Take Top Honors In BWAA Photo Contest

 

Ed Mulholland and Al Bello, old hands at placing highly in the Boxing Writers Association of America photo contest, are sandwiched around newcomer Quentin Ngobeh in an unprecedented 1-2-3 finish in both the Feature and Action categories. All entries had to be shot during the 2019 calendar year.

 

Placing entrants will be recognized at the 94th annual BWAA Awards Dinner, the date and site of which have not been announced as the BWAA, as is the case with the rest of the nation, waits out the COVID-19 pandemic which has shut down large gatherings everywhere until further notice. BWAA president Joe Santoliquito has said there is a possibility the event could be pushed back into 2021 if the current situation persists.

 

With over 20 highly qualified entrants in each category, the odds of three photographers finishing in order in the top three places of both might not be Powerball Lottery-winning long, but it is at least statistically improbable as the judging is done without the names of the shooters identified beforehand.

 

Mulholland has taken his place in the winner’s circle in the past, but the veteran of three decades of capturing such moments at ringside said sweeping top honors in both categories is a pleasant surprise.

 

“It’s an honor considering the competition,” said Mulholland, who was shooting for ESPN Images in the Feature category and for Matchroom Boxing in Action. “You have some of the best photographers in the business, let alone boxing photographers, entering the contest. Even though I’ve won in the past, to take first place in both categories is pretty wild.”

 

Mulholland’s winning shot in the Feature category was of undefeated featherweight Michael Conlan, of Northern Ireland, being soaked with water by cut man Ross Anber (not shown) as he returns to his corner during his Dec. 14 bout against Vladimir Nikitin at Madison Square Garden.

 

“We like the spray of water and that the photographer was deliberate about waiting for the moment to make this picture,” the judges wrote. “Background was clean and the blood running down (Conlan’s) face was a bonus.”

 

In the Action category, Mulholland nailed it with a shot of super welterweight contender Mark “The Bazooka” DeLuca landing a left hook to the head of Brandon Brewer on June 29 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, R.I. According to the judges, they “loved the intensity on both faces. It was a peak action moment with good spray coming off their faces and a clean background.”

 

Ngobeh, on assignment by Fairshakeboxing, got both his seconds for a Dec. 28 card at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta. His second place in Feature is a pensive portrait of Gervonta “Tank” Davis in his dressing room prior to his 12th-round stoppage of Yuriorkis Gamboa for the vacant WBA lightweight championship. Said the judges: “This was a different shot, but we liked that the photographer went searching for something more unique, and the light, negative space and black-and-white toning gave it a quiet atmosphere and mood.”

 

In Action, Ngobeh’s runner-up shot was of light heavyweight Ahmed Elbiali connecting with a ripping right to the jaw of Brian Vera, which contorted Vera’s face in “this peak moment,” according to the judges.

 

Bello is a legend among ringside photographers, logging more total awards in the 15 years the competition has been staged than anyone, even Mulholland.

 

Bello's third-place Feature shot is of newly crowned IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. celebrating his seventh-round stoppage of Anthony Joshua (standing dejectedly in the background) on June 1 at Madison Square Garden. His Action is from the same fight, with Joshua connecting with an overhand right. Both photos were shot for Getty Images.

 

The judges said Bello’s Feature shot was a “good job getting both the celebration and dejection in one frame,” and his Action photo captured “a nice moment with a lot of sweat flying.”

 

Honorable Mentions were earned by Mikey Williams of Top Rank in the Feature category and Naoki Fukuda of The Ring in Action.

 

2019 BWAA PHOTO WINNERS

 

ACTION

(1)  Ed Mulholland, Matchroom Boxing USA

June 29, 2019; Providence, RI: Mark DeLuca lands a left hook to the head of Brandon Brewer during their June 29, 2019 bout at the Dunkin Donuts Center.

 

(2) Quentin Ngobeh, Fairshakesboxing

Dec. 28, 2019; Atlanta, GA: Ahmed Elbiali lands a right into Brian Vera during his sixth-round TKO at the State Farm Arena.

 

(3) Al Bello, Getty Images

June 1, 2019, New York, N..Y,:  Andy Ruiz Jr  punches Anthony Joshua during their IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight title fight at Madison Square Garden. 

 

(HM) Naoki Fukuda, The Ring

 

 

FEATURE

(1)  Ed Mulholland, ESPN Images

December 14, 2019; New York, N.Y.: Michael Conlan is soaked with water by cutman Russ Anber (not shown) as he returns to his corner during his bout against Vladimir Nikitin at Madison Square Garden. 

 

(2) Quentin Ngobeh, Fairshakesboxing

Dec. 28, 2019; Atlanta, GA: Gervonta "Tank" Davis focuses prior to his 12th-round stoppage over Yuriorkis Gamboa at the State Farm Arena .

 

(3) Al Bello, Getty Images

June 1, 2019, New York, N.Y.:  Andy Ruiz Jr celebrates his seventh round tko against  Anthony Joshua after their IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight title fight at Madison Square Garden. 

 

(HM) Mikey Williams, Top Rank

 

Judges

Steve Falk and Tim Tai of the Philadelphia Inquirer

 

 

 

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