The most difficult year is passing. Boxing in 2022 passed the equipment period. Absolutes became those who had to, revenges were held by those who needed them. A year with a reserve for major Ukrainian confrontations in 2023.
Choosing the best boxer of 2022 is not the easiest task. There were no huge breakthroughs. Someone closed the issue with the absolute championship, but beat a weaker visavi, someone won two seemingly important victories, but first beat a smaller, and then a less skilled opponent. And he is also a representative of a country whose boxers should not walk quietly with titles on their shoulders.
Inoue had a standard good year, but added to it a historic achievement and closed all the situations that triggered earlier. Naoya is the first absolute champion in the history of Japan with four belts. At the same time, at the beginning of the year, the Japanese slammed the door loudly in the face of all those who doubted him after the 12-round battle with Donaire - he knocked out the Filipino in the second round of the rematch.
And then outboxed Paul Butler. On the one hand, when the chances of the British were estimated by bookmakers on average as 1 to 12, it seems that there is nothing to be proud of. On the other hand, Inoue won the class. I realized that it was impossible to knock out, switched to another format of work and still found my chance to end the fight earlier.
The 37-year-old Briton worries the audience at home no less than Joshua. At the same time, he met the first opponent who could really create problems for him only in September 2022.
Parker, a more technical, experienced and versatile boxer, still couldn't handle Joyce's onslaught. It was difficult for Joseph, but every round he turned on combinations against the raging rhinoceros, showing class even when his strength ran out long minutes ago.
A great fight and a terrible final shot, when everything collected on Parker's head during the previous rounds poured out on him in moments.
The parameters for determining the best knockout of the year are blurred, because it seems impossible to understand what exactly to base it on. It is impossible to evaluate beauty, because it is subjective. But it is worth considering not only the power of hitting.
An equally important factor is the status of the match and the level of the opponent. It always puts pressure on fighters, and whether or not a fighter can handle the pressure and land the perfect finishing blow adds to the pluses when determining the best.
Plant was the favorite against Dirrell, but Anthony is not a guy to be ranked. Dirrell is a skilled boxer who is not easy to catch. Even the giant David Benavidez won an early victory over him with brute physical strength. And Caleb caught on to a classic that can only be applauded.
A masterful comeback after losing to Canelo. Plant is back in the championship race.
Candidates for knockout of the year:
- Chris Billam-Smith (17-1, 12 KOs) KO5 Armend Hojaj (14-3, 7 KOs)
- Joe Cordina (15-0. 9 KOs) KO2 Kenichi Ogawa (26-1-1, 18 KOs)
- Jervonta Davis (27-0, 25 KOs) TKO6 Rolando Romero (14-1, 12 KOs)
- Terence Crawford (39-0, 30 KOs) KO6 David Avanesian (29-4-1, 17 KOs)
The undefeated favorite catches the opponent for a blow in the first round - a knockdown. Continues to press and invest in overhands. It seems that the fate of the underdog hangs in the balance, but this is far from the final. Wood regained consciousness, picked up the pace, and knocked Conlan out of the ring at the end of the twelfth round.
Comeback Fight of the Year: Deontay Wilder (43-2-1, 42 KOs) KO1 Robert Helenius (31-4, 20 KOs)
Wilder is a unique character for boxing. He has more than 90% knockouts, among the defeated are former contenders and world champions. He held the WBC title for years, and only lost to one of the most gifted heavyweights of the new generation, knocking him down multiple times in each fight.
But after another knockout, there will still be dozens of repetitions of the word "contractor" in the comments. He does it so easily.
Exactly one year out of the ring should have ended exactly like this for Deontay - no other victory would be accepted. Wilder walked away from several attacks of Helenius, who was lying down with his hands thoughtlessly down, and then met - one shot, one hit.
Mismatch of the Year: Tyson Fury (33-0-1, 24 KOs) TKO10 Derek Chisora (33-13, 23 KOs)
Derek boxed in this fight for exactly thirty seconds. First spurt, lots of powerlifting and trying to get Fury in the corner. That's all. Next: beatings, bullying, uppercuts, sides, clinches - all this came from Tyson.
Derek's corner watched motivational videos before the fight and told him verbatim, but the only thing it affected was the health of the Briton, who was getting more and more difficult. The fight, which was needed so that Tyson would not be bored, Chisora earned, and after the fight Usyk could look into the eyes of the future face.
Event of the Year: An all-female boxing night
Two fights for the absolute title, a knockout of relatives of one of the main heavyweight prospects, and all this in one evening. Such and not only the show presented women's boxing to fans in 2022.
Women's boxing is no longer a trend, but a full-fledged part of the sport, which is becoming more and more equipped. Women are increasingly demanding to make them rounds of 3 minutes, instead of 2, as now. The Taylor-Serrano fight became one of the main ones in 2022, gathering a full arena at Madison Square Garden.
And the first ever all-female boxing night in Great Britain summed it all up. A full O2 Arena watched Caroline DuBois (5-0, 4 KOs) - sister of Daniel DuBois - on the undercard and two powerful bouts in the main event. The undefeated American Clasira Shields and the British Savannah Marshall decided who would become the absolute middleweight champion. The representative of the USA took all the titles.
After that, Mikaela Mayer lost for the first time in her career - also in a fight for the absolute championship, but in the second featherweight. Alicia Baumgardner became the champion.
Old school of the year: Viktor Vykhrist (11-0. 7 KOs) TKO2 Yago Kiladze (27-6-1, 19 KOs)
Vykhrist's first fight in 2022 took place almost on New Year's Eve - on the night of January 1-2. The meeting with Yago Kiladze, who boxed exclusively in Ukraine from 2007 to 2012, captivated me instantly.
Five knockdowns in two rounds, a swing and a kick by the Georgian referee. It is better to see, but not once.
Wrestling of the Year: Karim Gurfi's take on Jordan Gill
At the end of February, Karim Gurfi met with the British Jordan Gill. At times, the situation in the match against the favorite was going well, as at this moment. But Gurfi finished it even too efficiently.
Performance of the year: Oleksandr Usyk SD12 Anthony Joshua
The case when the second part is even better than the first.
Before the battle, Oleksandr held a series of events, raising funds for the Ukrainian military and people affected by the war. Then he appeared at press conferences and official events in traditional clothes.
But the main performance of the year took place in the ring. A perfect boxing match. Shulga vs. a right-hander, a big puncher vs. a relatively small tech-pace guy. Joshua's new team, his focus, toughness, purposefulness. Almost anyone that evening would not have lasted with the British until the final. The ninth round was given to survive only the chosen ones.
But Usyk managed to do both, to show his magical boxing, and to win. Boxing aesthetics in every movement of every round of confrontation.
Heirs of the year: sons of Fernando Vargas
In reality, Conor Benn and Chris Eubank should have won this nomination. There was nothing left before the repetition of the battle of the parents, which captured the whole of Great Britain at that time, but Benn was caught on doping.
But in 2022, the sons of Fernando Vargas became the most noticeable: Fernando Jr., Amando and Emiliano. First, even at the beginning of the war, the boys publicly supported the initiative of Oleksandr Usyk, who sold "Hands off Ukraine" t-shirts, the proceeds of which went to help victims of the war in Ukraine.
Secondly, they defeated their opponents: Amando won twice, Fernando - three times, Emiliano made his debut with two early victories. This is how the latter applied to rivals.
Emotions of the year: Anthony Joshua after his second loss to Oleksandr Usyk and Teofimo Lopez after his victory over Sandor Martin
Joshua endured everything. All the blows of Usyk, all the intricacies of his movements. Withstood two training camps, a change of team and coach, a match in hot Saudi Arabia. But he could not stand defeat.
Anthony left the ring, but returned to throw his belts behind the ring, wear a Ukrainian flag, ask Usyk how he beat him again, and then give a lengthy speech in which he called himself a new breed of heavyweight.
After that, he burst into tears at the press conference.
"The last thing Joshua ever wanted to do was cry or break down," Eddie Hearn commented.
Teofimo reacted to the victory with doubt. The match against the awkward counterpuncher Sandor Martin was not easy. And this was to be expected. But after the victory, Lopez looked confused and asked the corners: "Am I still on the horse?"
It seems that Teofimo has some difficult months ahead of him. One of the possible next opponents is Regis Progress. To go out with him not even one percent confident in the plan, your strength or the coach is to expose yourself to even greater danger.
Endurance of the year: Paul Butler (34-3, 15 KOs)
Before the match against Inoue, the chances of the Briton were estimated at about 12 to 1. Paul lost all meetings against more top opponents, he actually received the belt in the mail and went to Japan to fight one of the main punchers of our time.
But Paul persevered. Trolling that he came out to play a number is accepted, but Butler was not only running. The Briton responded with a combination, worked well on his feet and withstood the terror of the Japanese for eleven rounds.
There were only four opponents who reached beyond the tenth round in Inoue's career.
Trolling of the Year: Caleb Plant
The match against Dirrell was full of show. First, the opponents will arrange a highly technical confrontation. Then - Plant knocked out the opponent. After that, he went to show that he was allegedly burying visavi.
After that, he finished trolling, which he started even before the battle. Caleb came to the ring wearing a t-shirt that said "You don't know me enough to hate".
And at the announcement of the result, he appeared already in a T-shirt with the inscription: "But now you know."
Clown of the year: Canadian Artur Beterbiev
Every argument of Arum that Beterbiev has been living in Canada for a long time, Artur destroys with the next statement that his promoter made a mistake, and he always boxed for Russia.
And Beterbiev breaks the promoter's arguments with his actions no worse than with his words. After another victory, the Canadian went to Justin Trudeau. Although, stop.
Idiots of the year: WBA and IBA
Venezuelan Gilberto Mendoza and Russian Umar Kremlov were made for each other. The former meets dictator Nicolás Maduro, calling him a friend of boxing. The second publicly shows a map with the annexed Crimea, already having the status of head of the International Boxing Association.
Together, they gather at the fantastically crooked Power Ranger, hold a meeting and decide to return Russians and Belarusians to boxing - professional and amateur.
According to the results of 2022, both of them can wish to organize their own separate terrorist league with dictators and terrorists and box there without stopping until the last one is left.
🔹 Eimantas Stanionis. On the night of April 16-17, he became the first world champion in the history of Lithuania - he defeated the Russian Rajab Butaev, appearing in the ring wearing shorts with the flag of Ukraine, under which "brothers" was written in Lithuanian.
🔹 WBC for excluding Russians and Belarusians from the rankings. Currently, it is the only organization that has done it this way - publicly and without the condition of reviewing the decision every month
"All boxers from Russia and Belarus were removed from the WBC rankings. The organization will not sanction fights in these two countries. None of their citizens will be able to compete for the WBC title," said Mauricio Suleiman.
Well, a separate story - watching Khryunov complain to the Pope at the WBC is incredibly funny.
🔹 Lou Di Belli - as the only promoter with a clear pro-Ukrainian position. He spoke about the danger from Russia even before the war, after the start of the war he did not sell the broadcast of the Heiney-Kambosos fight to the Russians, but provided it to Ukraine for free.
And he also advocates banning Russian boxers while the war continues:
"I know that George loves Ukraine very much and supports the Ukrainian people in their difficult struggle. Like me Glory to Ukraine," Lu concluded the interview for Tribuna.com.
🔹 Oleksandr Usyk and Denys Berinchyk, who from the first days of the war participated not only in fights, but also in helping Ukrainians. Denys won the EBU European Champion title at the beginning of December, in the middle he signed a contract with Frank Warren, and at the end he was both in Donetsk region and in a military hospital in Kyiv.
In 2023, Usyk will definitely return to the Ukrainian Crimea, and Denys - to the Ukrainian Krasnodon, which has been under occupation for 8 years.
We will win!