The 2022 Mid-Year Boxing Awards | Who Is Standing Out?
As we get to the halfway point in the year, here is Lukie’s take on the awards as we head into a stacked summer schedule of boxing.
Boxer Of The Year
2021 winner: Canelo
Dmitry Bivol – After defeating Canelo Alvarez, the consensus pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, Bivol holds the biggest upset win of the year, and holds the win that shocked the world as well. Bivol now just needs one more marquee win to solidify a fantastic, and career-defining year into being the boxer of the year in 2022. Bivol is the front-runner.
Devin Haney – Without his father, and most his team for most of fight week and prior, Devin Haney went to Australia, and outboxed George Kambosos Jnr to win all the lightweight world titles in the division that are widely regarded as notable, or honorable. For Haney, to win a fight on enemy soil, and make an undisputed champion coming off his biggest win look, null and void, was quite the statement.
Jerrmell Charlo – Stopping Brian Castano in his rematch with the esteem fighter, who he fought to a draw with last year was a massive statement. Add to it, that Charlo now holds all of the belts at 154 lbs and has won both of his rematches by KO, and Charlo is having a year that is summing up years of hard work. Charlo fights like how he talks, and is a serious contender for fighter of the year.
Katie Taylor – Taylor won the biggest women’s fight in the history of the sport, defeating Amanda Serrano. The biggest win for arguably the most iconic of women’s boxing history has to give Taylor a chance to be the boxer of the year.
Shakur Stevenson – Stevenson handed Oscar Valdez his first loss of his career, in a bout that wasn’t even close, now we are curious to see who Stevenson fights next. Stevenson will win this award at one point, though I am not sure it will be this year.
Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez – A bit under the radar, but Rodriguez is looking to be the next great lower weight fighter, and with a win over Carlos Cuadras for a belt already solidified we have a clash against another veteran and former world champion, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. If Rodriguez could beat Rungvisai, he starts to make a serious consideration as a name to be mentioned for fighter of the year.
Errol Spence Jr. – Winning yet another world title against Yordenis Ugas, and with whispers of a Errol Spence Jr. vs Terence Crawford bout in the fall. Spence Jr. with one more good performance could easily be the biggest star in boxing by the end of 2022.
Mark Magsayo – Defeating Gary Russell Jr., who held the WBC featherweight world title for seven years should mean something, and if he is able to beat Rey Vargas, Magsayo is making a strong case for accolades in the sport, and being one the best at featherweight.
Fight of the Year
2021 winner: Fury vs. Wilder III
Katie Taylor vs. Amanda Serrano – Simply put the best fight I have seen all year, with an electric atmosphere, non-stop action and a ton of debate about who should’ve won. Taylor vs. Serrano feels like an all-time classic, and one that will be hard to top in this category.
Sebastian Fundora vs. Erickson Lubin – A fun fire-fight that saw both fighters hurt, and birthed Sebastian Fundora as a fighter who will be on the main event stage for some years.
Leigh Wood vs. Michael Conlan – A fight that truly overachieved that saw different beats and flows, ending in a knockout of the year contender. What an exciting bout to watch, and worthy of mention.
Jermell Charlo vs. Brian Castano II – The closing salvo of Charlo’s reign at 154 lbs, to become the first-four belt undisputed world champion in his, as he righted the wrong of the draw between himself and Castano, fighting the best fight of his life. The KO win was simply an exclamation point on the best performance of Jermell Charlo’s career.
Canelo Alvarez vs. Dmitry Bivol – One of the most one-sided upset wins, as Dmitry Bivol dominated Canelo Alvarez’s with straight punches, as Alvarez looked to rely on power, and punched himself out early. For Bivol, to perform the way he did on that big of a stage, was an announcement of a new legend in boxing.
Mauricio Lara vs. Emilio Sanchez – It won’t win any awards, but it sure was a good fight as Lara and Sanchez beat each other up. If you want to see a fist-fight, this might be the most fist-fight-y fight so far.
The Story Of The Year
2021 winner: Jake Paul
Undisputed Champions – The story of 2022 is that everyone that is good or relevant is trying to unify and become undisputed. A welcomed change, which is bringing in new viewers to the sport.
Round of the Year
2021 winner: Teofimo vs. Kambosos Jnr., Round One
Viktor Faust vs Iago Kiladze, Round One – The leader in the clubhouse, as a sloppy round one saw both heavyweight hit the deck in a wildly fun first round that shows that both fighters have a limited ceiling in terms of their pro trajectory.
Souleymane Cissohko vs. Roberto Valenzuela Jr., Round Four – A fight that wasn’t all that great, but saw both fighters hit the canvas in round four, which provided heightened drama.
Sam Gilley vs Drew Brown, Round eight – One of the best club fights I have ever seen. Taking place on the now defunct MTK boxing card, Gilley and Brown might not go beyond the domestic level, on this night, and in this round they were legends.
Trainer of the Year
2021 winner: Eddy Reynoso
Derrick James, Coach of Errol Spence and Jermell Charlo – Led Jermell Charlo to undisputed, and has Errol Spence Jr., who has captured three of the four welterweight world titles.
Gennadiy Mashyanov, coach of Dmitry Bivol – Coached Dmitry Bivol through the biggest win of his career, in defeating Canelo Alvarez.
Wahid Rahim, coach of Stephen Fulton – The tremendous coach of Stephen Fulton, who is going rather unheralded by mainstream media, despite his fighter amassing a tremendous pro career.
Ross Enamait, coach of Katie Taylor – Having led Katie Taylor to the biggest win of her pro career, and the big moment in women’s boxing so far, deserves mention.
Jose Benavidez Sr., coach of Jose Benavidez Jr., David Benavidez, Diego Pacheco and Jose Valenzuela – The most exciting stable of fighters in all of boxing currently. Benavidez Sr., arguably has the most fan-friendly stable of fighters in the sport.
Bozy Ennis – The father, trainer and manager of Jaron “Boots” Ennis is building up his son on a path of greatness, and it is easy to overlook his father/trainer, you shouldn’t. Bozy deserves a ton of credit for the success of his son.
KO of the Year
2021 Winner: Oscar Valdez KOs Miguel Berchelt
Leigh Wood KO Michael Conlan – The betting underdog despite being the world champion, Leigh Wood, who feels like a true Matchroom star, didn’t just knockout Conlan, he knocked him out of the ring.
Joe Cordina KO Kenichi Ogawa – Joe Cordina won his first world title, the IBF 130 lbs strap in style by landing a one-punch KO with a right hand to stop Ogawa. It will probably not hold up as the best of the year, but notable.
Jermell Charlo KOs Brian Castano – A massive statement to pick up the fourth and final belt at 154 lbs to become undisputed and one of the iconic moments of Jermell Charlo’s career.
John “Scrappy” Ramirez KOs Jan Salvatierra – Ramirez didn’t just knockout Salvatierra, he knocked him out of the ring, as Ramirez getting the most noteworthy undercard KO of the year.
Contender of the Year
2021 Winner: Jaron “Boots” Ennis
Vergil Ortiz – Unless Ortiz wins a world title this year, it seems all, but a lock he will get this award. Ortiz is one of the best pressure fighters I have ever seen, and is an exciting new face of boxing, who is being groomed to be a star by Golden Boy Promotions. Ortiz should be a world champion in 2023.
Sebastian Fundora – Feeling as though Fundora is on a path to a world title, and with a huge win over Erickson Lubin. Fundora will make a solid case for being the best contender of the year as we will look at what his next bout will be.
Gary Antuanne Russell – One of the most exciting 140 lbs fighters, who holds a win over highly ranked Viktor Postol. Russell just needs to fight more, but with all of his wins coming by way of KO
Xander Zayas – It should be an arms race between Vergil Ortiz and Xander Zayas to see who can nab this award. Zayas fought six times in 2021, and is as likable as any fighter in boxing, plus stepping up his competition.
Albert Bell – Bell should fight for a world title in a fair world, but life isn’t fair. Bell has a pure boxing style, and is old-school spoiler, who is tricky, and being moved by Pulse Boxing, Vick Green’s promotional group. Hopefully, Bell gets a chance to see where he ranks at the world-level in the near future.
Prospect of the Year
2021 Winner: Jesus Ramos Jr.
Xander Zayas – Feels like Xander Zayas’ award to lose this year, as last year we gave the award to Jesus Ramos Jr., based on quality of competition, if Zayas stays active, and keeps fighting high-level competition it will be hard to beat him out for this award.
Jared Anderson – The best modern American heavyweight I have seen in some time, Anderson is exciting to watch. We just need to see him back in the ring, miss seeing him make highlight-reel KO’s.
Katsuma Akitsugi – The most underrated fighter in the sport as a whole. Akitsugi has defeated four undefeated fighters in a mere ten fights. Coming in as a b-side he defeated Rasheen Brown and Gregory Morales this year, both of whom were undefeated.
Keyshawn Davis – The 2020 lightweight Olympic silver medalist, who was the star of the Olympics, and feels like a star in the making in the pros. One of the most offensively gifted fighters I have seen in some time.
Travon Marshall – When matchmaker Ron Katz says you’re a good fighter, that means something. Marshall is being groomed on PBC cards, and taking full advantage.
Amari Jones – A slew of knockouts to star his career, the Oakland, California boxer is building a solid career to start, as Jones is looking the part of the future of boxing in the 154 lbs division. Jones has fought very hard competition to start his career.
Tiger Johnson – As talented and gifted a fighter as anyone on this list. Johnson feels special, and I can’t wait to see when his competition rises as I believe he will get better as the competition gets better.
Bruce Carrington – Carrington is putting together a slew of star-making performances combined with great public speaking skills, that look to have him as a center piece for Top Rank’s future.
Jahi Tucker – An exciting pressure fighter with a ton of personality, and someone that I think could have a huge ceiling if everything goes right for him.
Prospect of the Year (under ten fights)
2021 Winner: Amari Jones
Keyshawn Davis – One of the most offensively gifted fighters in the country, the 2020 Olympic silver medalist, is pretty amazing when he fights going downhill.
Jahi Tucker – A great body puncher at early age in his career, who lives to entertain the crowd. Tucker has the chance to be a great talent, and this year could be the year he separates from the rest of the pack.
Charlie Sheehy – Sheehy has won all of his fights by knockout, and taken difficult fights to start. Sheehy is looking like one of the most interesting prospects in the country, as well as one of the most exciting.
Marc Castro – A great pressure fighter who has hopes for a regional title by the end of the year.
Tiger Johnson – A talented Olympian, who is growing into the pro ranks with each performance being better than the last.
Travon Marshall – PBC’s next fighter they are grooming to go to the next level. Marshall has won all of his fights, but one by KO. His lone decision is to Ruben Torres, who trains with Ray Woods, a Sacramento legend.
Upset of the Year
2021 Winner: George Kambosos Jnr.
Dmitry Bivol – The obvious pick as Dmitry Bivol beat the pound-for-pound number one guy in boxing against Canelo. Bivol changed his life with one fight.
Hector Luis Garcia – Holding a massive upset win over Chris Colbert, and now readying himself for a world title fight against Roger Gutierrez in Venezuela. Garcia beat Colbert soundly, to the point that despite it going to a decision, no one wonder who won. Prior to the bout, not many people could identify who Hector Luis Garcia was, that includes fight fans. A life-changing win.
Dakota Linger – One punch will make Dakota Linger a legend in his hometown as he knocked out Josue Vargas in two rounds. Linger, a healthy underdog, stopped a promising prospect on the b-side.
Comeback Fighter of the Year
2021 winner: Kiko Martinez
Leigh Wood – A centerpiece of the Matchroom roster, who was an underdog despite being a world champion when facing Michael Conlan, only to beat him in highlight fashion. It is safe to say Leigh Wood will be one of the better fighters in the U.K. for some time to come, and Leigh Wood’s resurrection was complete with his win over Conlan.
Dakota Linger – A hard-luck fighter who got a major win over Josue Vargas, which will massively revive his career.
Daniel Dubois – Dubois won a world title over Trevor Bryan in a fourth-round KO, after a year-and-a-half ago a never career ending eye injury had him contemplating his career not too long ago. Good job, Daniel.
Women’s Boxer of the Year
2021 Winner: Seniesa Estrada
Katie Taylor – This is Katie Taylor’s year. It is a formality that we include others, but her win over Amanda Serrano is iconic, and more than likely the most important women’s bout of the year. The undisputed lightweight champion, who was a part of a massive event should walkaway with this award, and with rumors of Taylor fighting Holly Holm, that should make two big events for her in one calendar year.
Franchon Crews-Dezurn – The undisputed super middleweight women’s champion, who rebounded from her pro debut loss to Claressa Shields. Both fighters made their debut on that card, by the way.
Amanda Serrano – Fought even with Katie Taylor, and if you felt she should’ve won the fight, you wouldn’t be wrong for having this for Serrano.
Mikaela Mayer – A slow year so far, but making a fight against Alycia Baumgardner in the second half to the year should be thrilling and noteworthy.
Men’s Amateur Boxer of the Year
2021 winner: Jahmal Harvey
Rahim Gonzales – Gonzales is winning everything, and really, really good. A future light heavyweight world champion, and one of the best amateur fighters in the world.
Jahmal Harvey – A tour-de-force at featherweight. Getting better with each and every fight, one of the most compelling fighters of the past decade.
Benjamin Johnson – Stopping opponents in the finals! Benjamin Johnson appears to not just be good, but also feared. A special-type of talent, trained by Lamont Roach Sr., who looks to have high hopes for his boxing career.
Jamar Talley – A massive puncher at heavyweight, who has shades of Jared Anderson, who also fought in this division only a few years ago. Talley has a highlight-reel KO in international competition.
Steven Navarro – A special talent, who is growing into a favorite to make the Olympics as we start to enter the qualifying process for the Team USA in 2024. A blend of athleticism and skills. The next great Los Angeles, California fighter.
Women’s Amateur Boxer of the Year
2021 winner: Oshae Jones
Rashida Ellis – Ellis holds the biggest win of the year, an international gold medal, and is looking as good as she has ever looked.
Jennifer Lozano – One of the best fighters in the country, and as talented as anyone, plus knocking down her opponents as well.
Sa’Rai Brown-El – A future star of the division, despite being younger than the rest, the Lugo Boxing program has produced a lot of winner, and Brown-El looks to be yet another good fighter coming out of coach Mike Lugo’s system.
Yoseline Perez – Really good. Perez is winning the national tournaments, and fighting in a way in which she isn’t taking a ton of damage either.
Women’s Boxing Prospect of the Year
2021 winner: Sandy Ryan
Lauren Price – The 2020 Olympic gold medalist, Lauren Price is really good, and should be a legend. Price is a generational-type talent, and was the most dominant force on Team Great Britain in the 2020 Olympics.
Jessikah Guerra – A very talented hard-hitting Southern California fighter out of Victorville, California, who many have extremely high hopes for.
Oshae Jones – The Olympic bronze medalist, who goes to the body well, and was a dominant amateur for a very long time. Jones with activity could have the rare feat of going from being the best women’s amateur of last year to the best prospect the following year.
Boxing Manager of the Year
2021 Winner: Peter Kahn
Peter Kahn – Kahn has had two undisputed world champions this year in George Kambosos Jnr. and Franchon Crews-Dezurn, as well as built Xander Zayas to be one of the most exciting and emerging contenders in the sport of boxing. Kahn is looking to go back-to-back as of right now.
James Prince – Prince has more than likely the most talented young stable of fighters in boxing, and has put Shakur Stevenson in a position to be a superstar. Prince could easily win this award by the end of the year.
Bill Haney – Bill Haney got his son, Devin, into the position to become an undisputed world champion on ESPN, as well as got a great deal with ESPN in the process.
Egis Klimas – With Usyk returning later this year, as well as signing all three of the Vargas brothers, Klimas is still a stronghold in the sport of boxing as his eye for talent is constantly very good.
Bozy Ennis – The father, trainer and manager of Jaron “Boots” Ennis has helped guide his son into being the most anticipated fighter in the sport of boxing.
Amateur Boxing Coach of the Year
2021 Winner: Darrell Davis
Darrell Davis – Coach Darrell Davis, won the award last year, and is looking to repeat as Jahmal Harvey is having a ton of success once again.
Christopher Burns – the coach of Amir Anderson, who is one of the fighters who is winning, winning and winning some more as an amateur.
Refugio Navarro: The father and trainer of Steven Navarro, who is an outstanding fighter that I have high hopes for. Navarro has brought his son up the right way in the sport and deserves praise.
Robert Mumford – The head coach of Team Cartel Boxing who works with Ryan Williams, one of the best lower weight fighters in the country is an exciting
Lamont Roach Sr. – The head coach of Benjamin Johnson, a fighter considered by many to be a can’t miss prospect.
Mike Lugo – Year-after-year, coach Mike Lugo has a team of fighters competing at high-level at the national tournament. When it comes to the best amateur coaches in the country, Mike Lugo will always be in the conversation.
Billy Walsh – The head of team USA Boxing, who has had a lot of success as of late.
Club Show Fight of the Year:
2021 Winner: Paul Kroll vs Mark Dawson, Jr.
Sam Gilley vs. Drew Brown – If you missed this fight go watch. It might not be a technical marvel, but both fighters show heart, and gave it all the had, on what was the last, that I believe MTK Global promoted fight ever. Both fighters should hang their head with pride with how they left everything in the ring on that night.
Jonathan Guidry vs. Dacarree “Mac Truck” Scott – A battle of endurance as the veteran Guidry outlasted the young “Mac Truck” Scott in a fight that saw two heavyweight do battle with hopes of a world title ranking on the line from the fight.
Eros Correa vs Saul Sanchez – Eros Correa and Saul Sanchez put forth a hum-dinger on a Thompson Boxing card that should get more acclaim than it will. They both fought their hearts out.
Marlon Harrington vs. Terry Roscoe – Marlon Harrington recorded on of the best club show knockouts of the year on this card, and it is worthy of mention. Definitely a fight Harrington should store for the record books, as I believe most fighters want this kind of win on their ledger.
Northern California Fighter of the Year
2021 Winner: Devin Haney
Devin Haney – The undisputed lightweight world champion, who is an Oakland native now living in Las Vegas, Nevada, looks to be the odds on favorite to be a two-time winner of this award.
Gabe Flores Jr. – Rebounding from his first career loss in a major way by defeating Abraham Montoya, Flores is looking to earn this award by having a big second half of the year.
Amari Jones – Fighting great fighters, with even better records, and knocking them out. Amari Jones, of Oakland, California, is someone worth-watching as the Devin Haney Promotions signed fighter looks to be a future Bay Area star.
Cain Sandoval – An undefeated lightweight out of Sacramento, California, who is knocking out all of his competition. Sandoval will need a marquee win to get the award, but is trending towards the top of the region.
David Lopez – Having signed with Mayweather Promotions at only 17-years-old, Lopez is looking to be Oakland’s next boxing star, and with a first-round KO in his pro debut the future looks bright for the talented prospect.
Lorenzo Powell – As strong of an amateur as Northern California has currently, we just have to see how he does in nationals, but as an amateur Powell is ranked on my list of the best fighters in Northern California.
Damani Cato-Cain – The slept on emerging force, Damani Cato-Cain is being brought up by Arvin Jugarap of Kennel Boxing Gym, and is sparring world-class fighters like Manny Pacquiao and Terence Crawford. Don’t be surprised if Cato-Cain, upsets one of your favorite fighters soon.
Northern California Fight of the Year
2021 Winner: Mikey Garcia vs. Sandor Martin
Hector Tanajara Jr. vs. Miguel Contreras – A great fire-fight that ended in a draw. The two fought as well as anyone, and gave the Fresno fight fans, quite a fight.
Mark Salgado vs. Luciano Ramos, (Sacramento, Ca) – So far, this is the only fight in the Northern California fight that was competitive and close. The fight saw Ramos get a close split-decision win over Salgado in a fight that I wouldn’t mind seeing as a six-round rematch, as the fight created a lot of debate over who could’ve won the fight.