The year is almost over and DAZN, after providing many memorable moments within the boxing ring this year, are ready to hand out their annual awards. Take a look as our team look back at a memorable 2022 and recognize the talents of those who provided some unforgettable action.
Fighter of the Year – Dmitry Bivol
After securing the year’s most shocking win against Canelo Alvarez in May, Dmitry Bivol piled on more misery for Mexican fighters by outclassing Gilberto Ramirez in November.
Establishing himself as one of the sport’s best fighters seemed a distant dream at the start of the year, but Bivol has taken his profile to another level and it’s possible his credentials could be enhanced further in 2023.
Fight of the Year – Leigh Wood WTKO12 Michael Conlan
A fight that started with a brutal shot and ended with one. Michael Conlan dropped Leigh Wood in a frantic opener before landing several more heavy shots on the Nottingham man throughout the contest.
Wood’s late rally seemingly appeared to have come too late after flooring Conlan in the fight’s penultimate round, but a stunning right end in the final session sent Conlan out of the ring into the arms of his brother as Wood somehow managed to retain his world title in one of the greatest fights inside a boxing ring.
Knockout of the Year – Joe Cordina WKO2 Kenichi Ogawa
Joe Cordina was expected to have his work cut out for him when he tackled the relentless Kenichi Ogawa in June. Instead, the Welsh star found the shot of his entire life by him as a brilliantly timed right hand landed on Ogawa’s exposed chin.
The Japanese fighter had no chance of surviving the attack as Cordina fulfilled all his potential by becoming world champion.
Upset of the Year – Dmitry Bivol WPTS12 Canelo Alvarez
Canelo Alvarez had grand plans in 2022 that included securing another world title at 175lbs. Those plans were torn apart by Dmitry Bivol who had no issues in dominating the Mexican for the year’s most surprising win.
Canelo had no answer to Bivol’s consistent attacks, and even though this bout was fairly one-sided, it feels like it’s a rivalry that still has plenty of mileage.
Fighter of the Year – Oleksandr Usyk
The unified world heavyweight champion may not be someone who will feature on some lists, but Oleksandr Usyk is fully deserving of this accolade.
Yes, he did only fight once this year, successfully defending his WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles against Anthony Joshua in their August rematch, but it was the performance and the surrounding circumstances which made it all the more impressive.
Before getting into camp, Usyk was defending his native Ukraine after Russia’s invasion at the start of the year and was given special permission to prepare for this fight. He became a beacon of hope for his country and throughout fight week, Usyk showed a huge amount of emotion and produced another clinic against Joshua. To perform like he did amongst the backdrop of a horrific war in your home country, Usyk showed that he is a one-of-a-kind athlete.
Fight of the Year – Katie Taylor WPTS Amanda Serrano
At the end of April, a historic moment for the sport of boxing took place, as two women headlined a boxing event at the iconic Madison Square Garden.
Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano went head-to-head for the undisputed women’s lightweight title and it delivered. The whole week of build-up had everything from face offs between Eddie Hearn and Jake Paul, to WWE superstars appearing at the weigh-in.
Then the fight itself lived up to expectations. Both women gave it all in the ring that night and the final round was one of the best I’ve seen in recent memory. Taylor came out on top in the end via the judges’ scorecards, but the fact fans are now clamoring for a rematch showing how much of success this fight really was.
Knockout of the Year – Leigh Wood TKO12 Michael Conlan
Some fans will have this as their fight of the year contender, but when it comes to knockout of the half-year, this moment is certainly up there.
Up until the final round, Leigh Wood was in danger of losing his WBA ‘regular’ featherweight title in front of his own fans. Conlan managed to soak up the hostile Nottingham atmosphere and was on top from the opening bell.
Flooring Wood in the first round, it looked like Conlan was on course to make it a memorable night for Irish boxing on foreign shores, but then as the fight reached the twelfth and final round, Wood unloaded, realizing the only way he would be able to win was with a stoppage.
This strategy worked for Wood who knocked out Conlan before the Irishman fell out of the ring. A sensational end to what was a night to remember at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena.
Upset of the Year – Dmitry Bivol UD Canelo Alvarez
When Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez made the decision to move up to light heavyweight once more to face WBA champion Dmitry Bivol, some fans thought the Mexican had enough to overcome one of the best at 175lbs following his stoppage win against Sergey Kovalev in 2019.
What transpired on May 7 however in Las Vegas was completely different. Bivol made sure his size made it difficult for Canelo, who didn’t get a chance to inflict any significant damage and as a result showed signs of frustration, something that fans have rarely seen in recent fights.
Following the loss, Canelodropped back down to super middleweight to face Gennadiy Golovkin for a third time, but it’s expected he will face Bivol in a rematch next year and it will be interesting to see what the Mexican will change in order to have a better chance of topping the WBA light heavyweight champion.