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The BWAA Announces The 2017 Bernie Writing Award Winners

As the son of noted author Leonard Kriegel, Mark Kriegel knows a thing or two about the multifaceted aspects of the father-son dynamic. Maybe that’s why he is so good in detailing such relationships, and especially those in the insulated world of his favorite sport, boxing.

Now an analyst for ESPN’s boxing telecasts, Kriegel still considers himself primarily a writer, and rightly so. He emerged as the leading light of the 17th annual Boxing Writers Association of America writing contest, the only entrant to take two first places, in the Feature Over 1,500 Words and Feature Under 1,500 Words categories. But the piece that most resonated with the judges was his longer treatise on the life-long vision of Anatoly Lomachenko to transform his son, Vasiliy, into the perfect fighting machine.

Two-time Bernie winner Mark Kriegel


“I’ve made a career about writing about dysfunctional father-son relationships,” said Kriegel, who covered boxing extensively as a sports columnist for the New York Post and New York Daily News before branching out into other media outlets. “The Lomachenkos, on their face, are very much like the Maraviches. (One of Kriegel’s four books, Pistol: the Life of Pete Maravich, dealt with father-coach Press Maravich’s obsession into turning his superstar son into a one-of-a-kind basketball prodigy.)

“Anatoly Lomachenko has his own idiosyncratic way of doing things. He believes he knows better than anyone else, and his way of doing things has never been done before. The difference is, the Maraviches were immersed in their dysfunction. For whatever reason, the Lomachenkos seem fully functional. That’s the anomaly.”

It is fitting therefore that Kriegel will pick up his awards on May 11 at the 93rd annual BWAA Awards Dinner at the Copacabana Times Square in New York City, at which Vasiliy Lomachenko will receive the Sugar Ray Robinson Fighter of the Year Award and his father comes away with the Eddie Futch Trainer of the Year Award, the night before Vasiliy challenges WBA lightweight champion Jorge Linares in Madison Square Garden.

Other first-place winners include Thomas Gerbasi (Event Coverage); Joseph Santoliquito (Column); Thomas Hauser (News Story), and Eric Raskin (Investigative Reporting).

Although he did not snag a first place, Springs Toledo, a frequent BWAA award winner, merits a special mention for finishing second in three categories (Column, Feature Under 1,500 Words and Feature Over 1,500 Words), a third in Event Coverage, as well as an Honorable Mention in Investigative Reporting.

The full list of BWAA writing contest placers:



Thomas Gerbasi

First Place

Second Place

THOMAS HAUSER, “Keith Thurman: If You Can Beat Me, Beat Me,”, March 6, 2017

Third Place (Tie)

KIERAN MULVANEY, “Joshua Is the New King As Valiant Klitschko Goes Out On His Shield,”, April 29, 2017

SPRINGS TOLEDO, “An Unforgiving Minute,”, December 11, 2017

GEORGE WILLIS, “Unbelievable: It Was Boxing’s Perfect Night – Until Judge Ruled,” New York Post, September 17, 2017

Honorable Mention: Mike Coppinger,; Jack Hirsch,; Gordon Marino,; Lance Pugmire,; Cliff Rold,; Don Stradley,


Joseph Santoliquito

First Place

Second Place (tie)

DON STRADLEY, “Miguel Cotto’s New York,”, November 29, 2017

SPRINGS TOLEDO, “There’s A Barbarian at The Gate,” Boxing News, July 20, 2017

Third Place

THOM LOVERRO, “McGregor Never A Threat to Methodical Mayweather,” Washington Times, August 27, 2017

Honorable Mention: Adam Berlin,; Matt Christie, Boxing News; Lyle Fitzsimmons,; Norm Frauenheim,; Thomas Gerbasi,; Kelsey McCarson,; Dan Rafael,; Cliff Rold,; John Whisler, San Antonio Express News


Thomas Hauser

First Place

Second Place

KENNETH BOUHARIE, “Another Scandalous Decision in Boxing,” Boxing News,

October 2, 2017

Third Place

MIKE COPPINGER, “Manny Pacquiao – Jeff Horn to Kick Off Top Rank/ESPN Series,”, June 17, 2017

Honorable Mention: Bernard Fernandez,; Lyle Fitzsimmons,; Lee Groves,; Diego Morilla,; Dan Rafael,; Don Stradley, The Ring; David Weinberg, Press of Atlantic City

BOXING FEATURE (Under 1,500 words)

Mark Kriegel

First Place

Second Place

SPRINGS TOLEDO, “The Feast of St. Tony,” The Ring, January 2018 (on newsstands November 9, 2017)

Third Place

DON STRADLEY, “A Life in Many Acts,” The Ring, January 2018 (on newsstands November 9, 2017)

Honorable Mention: Adam Berlin,; Bernard Fernandez,; Norm Frauenheim,; Thomas Gerbasi,; Thomas Hauser, The Ring; Lance Pugmire,; Joseph Santoliquito,

BOXING FEATURE (Over 1,500 words)

First Place

Second Place

SPRINGS TOLEDO, “On the Boston Waterfront,” City Journal, Winter 2017

Third Place

KIERAN MULVANEY, “The Last Boxing Days of Miguel Cotto,”, November 29, 2017

Honorable Mention: Ron Borges, The Ring; Thomas Hauser, The Ring; Ivan Goldman, Ringside Seat; Don Stradley, Ringside Seat; John Whisler, San Antonio Express-News; Michael Woods,


Eric Raskin

First Place

Second Place

BERNARD FERNANDEZ, “How the ‘Omega Project’ Got Holyfield Ready for Qawi – And, Ultimately, Tyson,”, July 11, 2017

Third Place

THOMAS HAUSER, Four Part Series on New York State Athletic Commission,, RingOnline,com,, February 23 – September 8, 2017

Honorable Mention: Kenneth Bouharie, Boxing News; Norm Frauenheim,; Thomas Gerbasi, The Ring; Arne K. Lang,; Dan Rafael,; Springs Toledo, Tara


TOMMY DEAS, Executive Sports Editor, Tuscaloosa News; Past President, APSE

MICHAEL HIRSLEY, Chicago Tribune (retired)

JOE MAXSE, Cleveland Plain Dealer (retired)

JOHN SCHULIAN, Chicago Sun-Times (retired)

ED SCHUYLER, Jr., The Associated Press (retired)

MIKE WATERS, Syracuse Post-Standard

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