Boxing 2022 A Year in Review

What was the biggest fight of the year:

In the UK, Tyson Fury vs Dillian Whyte for the WBC Heavyweight Championship was the biggest fight of the year in terms of ticket sales.
Fury has spoken proudly of selling 93,000 out at Wembley in 2022. That records eclipses Carl Froch vs George Groves’ previous record, presumably much to Froch’s annoyance. Fury’s winter bout against Derek Chisora also came second, selling upwards of 60,000 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The fight itself proved to be a stinker. Whyte refused to engage in any of the build-up in protest at being handed only the mandatory mandated 20% of the fight purse. This meant he came into the fight without any kind of support or momentum, and he fought the same way in the ring. The normally wild and aggressive Whyte had a passive display until Fury knocked him out on his feet in the sixth round, pushing him to the floor to secure the victory. Whyte never troubled Fury in the bout, and in the end his contribution to the event barely merited the purse he received.

Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua II was the biggest fight of the year in terms of stakes. Fighting for the unified belts, AJ gained credit for his efforts against Usyk, particularly in the ninth round where Usyk was put under heavy pressure. AJ wasn’t able to regain his belts though, losing a split decision where Usyk had been a clear victor. He lost his temprament throwing two belts out of the ring, tarnishing his image in the process.

What was the best fight of the year:

Leigh Wood vs Michael Conlan won fight of the year following their scrap in Nottingham in March 2022 for the WBA regular Featherweight Championship. The back and forth affair saw Wood on the canvas in the first round, Conlan in the eleventh, and Wood trailing heading into the final round. Wood managed to knock Conlan out on his feet in front of his hometown fans, causing him to drop his arms, before sending him through the ring ropes and to the floor. Jubulation turns to fear within seconds as the fight was waved off, medical personnel were called, and the focus shifted back onto Belfast fighter Conlan. Conlan went on to recover and was back out again in August 2022.

What was the biggest shock of the year:

The outcome of Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall for the Undisputed Super Lightweight belts proved to be a shock for all observers. The bout went the full 12, with Taylor dropped in the eighth round. Catterall had outlanded and controlled much of the action, and awaited victory of the scorecards. Taylor was awarded the win by split decision, 114-111, 113-112, and 113-112 to Catterall. Judge Ian John-Lewis scored the bout 114-111, and was downgraded as a judge in the aftermath. No rematch occurred between the two, despite protests from Catterall and Boxxer.

Taylor vs Catterall Poster

Who was promoter of the year:

Frank Warren and Queensbury had a banner year as Fury’s promoter, and the heayweight division. He managed two title defences and two massive stadium events out of Fury. Joe Joyce and Daniel Dubois were both left in strong mandatory positions, with Joyce holding the WBO interim belt after beating Joseph Parker, and Dubois the WBA regular championship from defeating Trevor Bryan on a Don King show. Zach Parker’s injury vs John Ryder cost him a future shot at Canelo, while Anthony Yarde earnt his shot at Beterbiev for the World championship in 2023. Looking at the UK side, Frank Warren’s Queensbury ended 2022 as the strongest promotion.

Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing broke new ground in hosting Usyk vs Joshua II in Saudi Arabia, the most lucrative market to host the event. Italy, Spain, and America were also touring destinations for the globetrotters. But despite global growth, Matchroom struggled a little domestically. Jordan Gill, Anthony Joshua and Josh Warrington all lost world title bouts towards the end of the year. Joe Cordina and Leigh Wood played a role in Matchroom’s domestic successes, gaining world championships.

Ben Shalom’s Boxxer, who filled the void left by Matchroom Boxing’s departure to DAZN, had a terrific February, hosting Taylor vs Catterall, Amir Khan vs Kell Brook, Chris Eubank Jr. vs Liam Williams, but struggled to produce meaningful cards for the rest of the year.
Injuries to opponents held back Eubank Jr and Catterall, and Boxxer struggled to attract recognisable faces for their shows. Loaded with upcoming prospects, talented Olympians and some of the best names in women’s boxing, February proved to be a bit of a false dawn, and they ended the year to a mixture of occasional success but consistent frustration from boxing fans.

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