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2022 Boxer Of The Year: Dmitry Bivol

Fighter of the Year: Dmitry Bivol

Dmitry Bivol

2021 winner: Canelo Alvarez

What a difference a year makes. 

Last year, it was all about Canelo’s rise to undisputed and having the best year of his career. This year started with Canelo losing to Dmitry Bivol, who is quite possibly the best fighter in the world, but his personality being so mellow, seemingly limits the credit he deserves. 

In Canelo’s first DAZN pay-per-view, one in which, the fight didn’t have the same hoopla as fights prior, Bivol was seemingly written off by everyone, but the experts, like James Clerkin. 

Entering the bout, it was clear this fight was different as Bivol took a Tim Duncan approach to boxing Canelo. Canelo was not going to land his loaded-up and wild shots against Bivol, the same ones that had led him to success against prior light heavyweight Sergey Kovalev, or undisputed against Callum Smith and Caleb Plant. 

Bivol’s genius is not deviating from the game plan, staying the course. During a wild exchange early in the fight, Canelo prompted Bivol to come forward, but Bivol kept his distance and waited. 

Yet, unlike fighters like Andy Ruiz Jr., who became a cultural icon after beating a superstar like Anthony Joshua, Bivol didn’t become a boxing icon in the United States after the win. Could it be his style, or that he is a Russian citizen during the Russia-Ukraine war? Who knows, but Bivol’s win wasn’t played up to the extent I feel it should’ve. 

In November, he returned to outclass Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez, an undefeated fighter, who was considered the third-best light heavyweight division, just behind Artur Beterbiev. 

Honorable Metions

Devin Haney – The youngest four-belt undisputed world champion in the lightweight division, who went to Australia twice to defeat the former champion, George Kambosos Jnr., twice. The only issue Haney looked so good in the first fight, but his second win went largely unnoticed as the drama was all, but gone. It was a business agreement the second time around, as Haney missed out on a chance on being the fighter of the year based on making Kambosos Jnr. look too vulnerable and outclassing him. 

Jermell Charlo – What a shame Jermell Charlo only fought once this year, as he knocked out Brian Castano in a rematch en route to becoming the four-belt undisputed 154 lbs champion in May. Yet, that was his one and only fight of the year. Charlo is finally getting his just due on pound-for-pound lists, but it felt like he could’ve made a case this year as the boxer of the year, and simply didn’t fight much, nor did it seem to matter to him.

Katie Taylor – While men’s boxing dropped the ball on most of the big fights the women delivered. The raw emotion of Katie Taylor’s walkout against Amanda Serrano was that of legend, but how she fought proved why she will be one of the best Irish fighters to ever live, either male or female. A fitting tribute to a true legend. 

Claressa Shields – The U.S.’s equivalent to Katie Taylor is Claressa Shields, and seeing her defeat the only woman who beat her in the amateurs, Savannah Marshall, just furthered how great Shields is. Shields is doing something historic and seems she will only get credit when it is all said and done, but she deserves to be on this list. 

Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez – “Bam” made a heck of a graduation from being a prospect by moving up two weight classes and beating two legends of the super flyweight division, in Carlos Cuadras and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. His last fight against Israel Gonzalez, showed a bit of fatigue from a busy year, as he now has given up his super flyweight title, and is set to campaign in 2022 at flyweight. 

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Lukie Ketelle

Lukie Ketelle