2022 Boxing Contender Of The Year: Joe Joyce
2022 Winner: Joe Joyce
2021 Winner: Jaron “Boots” Ennis
Joe Joyce is the odd man out currently, but that still doesn’t mean, he isn’t the contender of the year.
For those unaware, we created this award last year for an exciting fighter, we want to see in a big fight the following year. The first fighter we gave an award to was “Boots” Ennis, sadly, he couldn’t get his big fight and nearly won the award in consecutive years, which sort of shows the state of boxing in this era.
Joyce defeated Joseph Parker, a former world champion, now highly ranked, and in a position to fight for a world title when given the chance. Joyce is a come-forward pressure fighter, who never throws hard, but has the belief that his size and stamina will overwhelm his opponent. Working with Ismael Salas has only improved him, as he has become a more technically offensive fighter, looking to inflict even more damage. Joyce’s win prior was a tune-up stoppage win over Christian Hammer.
Joyce is essentially a defacto world champion in my eyes, and despite not having the belt, is one of the biggest names in the division, and someone we are all eager to see fight in 2023.
No one seems more suitable for a world title shot heading into 2023 than Joe Joyce.
Now holding the interim WBO heavyweight title, Joyce is one of the key players at heavyweight.
Sebastian Fundora – A career-defining win over Erickson Lubin, and a big win in Carson, California has Fundora set up for future world title fights and main event spots for years to come.
Gary Antuanne Russell – Looking the part of a world champion without the belt, Antuanne Russell is a southpaw puncher, who thinks a lot, and feels a lot like Errol Spence Jr. Russell is rumored to be facing Alberto Puello next for a world title, who knows if that is true. His last couple of stoppages have been odd, but his performances continue to be dominant
Jaron “Boots” Ennis – I am as high as anyone on “Boots” Ennis, but 2022 was a disappointment for Ennis. He just couldn’t get fight dates, and that is a shame. Ennis should’ve had a world title shot this year, but didn’t, because the division waited around for Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford to do something.
Vergil Ortiz – The forgotten contender who will be a force at welterweight, continued his rise up the ranks this year as one of the most formidable fighters in the division. Once again, I wish he was a bit more active, but I assume he feels the same way.
Charles Conwell – A hard-fought win in Carson, Ca, put Conwell one fight away from a world title shot at the WBC 154 lbs title. Conwell is one tough customer.
Albert Bell – Even without a promoter, Bell is one of the best 130 lbs fighters and is just not getting the chance to show his skills.