The BOXRAW 2022 Boxing Awards

It's been another huge year for boxing, with many great fights and stand-out performances in the ring.  

So, as 2022 comes to an end, BOXRAW pick out the best fighters and most entertaining match-ups in the end-of-year awards. 

Do you agree with our picks? Read on.

Fighter of the Year: Dmitry Bivol

Heading into a fight billed as ‘Legacy Is Earned’ on Cinco de Mayo weekend, the stage had been set for Canelo Alvarez to shine. But Dmitry Bivol had other ideas. 

The light-heavyweight champion produced a masterful performance over 12 rounds in Las Vegas to defend his title and become only the second fighter after Floyd Mayweather Jr. to defeat his Mexican rival. 

Six months later Bivol capped off a great year with yet another dominant display, as he outclassed Gilberto Ramirez in Abu Dhabi to retain his crown. 

The undefeated 175 pounds ruler was the stand-out performer throughout the year but his key challenger for the top prize was Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez, who has shot to prominence in recent months. 

Devin Haney’s supreme performances to become undisputed champion then defend his crown saw him stand above most too, while Shakur Stevenson continued to rally towards pound-for-pound stardom with wins over Oscar Valdez and Robson Conceicao. 

But it’s Bivol who cemented himself as the best fighter of 2022 ahead of what looks set to be an even more prosperous 2023. 

Other contenders: Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez, Devin Haney, Shakur Stevenson. 

Women’s Fighter of the Year: Alycia Baumgardner 

It was always going to be tough to top her own 2021 feats but Alycia Baumgardner has done it.  

Last year, she finished with a stunning knockout victory over Terri Harper to become super-featherweight world champion. 

But ‘The Bomb’ began 2022 by defending her belts against Edith Soledad Matthysse then prevailed over bitter rival Mikaela Mayer to unify the division on a historic all-women's event. 

Baumgardner’s success over Mayer in London saw her cap off an incredible year in her career. 

The Ohio-born champion’s efforts have secured our Women’s Fighter of the Year award, seeing off other top contenders including Claressa Shields and Katie Taylor.  

Other contenders: Katie Taylor, Natasha Jonas, Chantelle Cameron, Claressa Shields. 

Fight of the Year: Leigh Wood vs Michael Conlan

There’s nothing like a dramatic late knockout in boxing and the featherweight world title meeting between holder Leigh Wood and challenger Michael Conlan produced exactly that. 

After climbing off the canvas himself early in the fight, Wood rallied back in the 12th and final round to knock Conlan out cold and send him flying through the ring ropes to the ringside seats. 

Fortunately, the Irishman came away from the stoppage unscathed and has since began rebuilding towards another title shot in 2023. 

The triumph has put Wood in prime position to push on for further high-profile showdowns next year under coach Ben Davison. 

But it’s the pair’s emphatic 12-round battle that deserves our Fight of the Year award, after producing one of the most pulsating moments in the sport across the last 12 months. 

Other contenders: Chris Billam-Smith vs Isaac Chamberlain, Katie Taylor vs Amanda Serrano, Jermell Charlo vs Brian Castano 2, Juan Francisco Estrada vs Roman Gonzalez 3, Erickson Lubin vs Sebastian Fundora, Sivenathi Nontshinga vs Hector Flores. 

KO of the Year: Terence Crawford

Ending the year with a bang, Terence Crawford put on a show for his home city of Nebraska by knocking latest challenger David Avanesyan out cold. 

Controlling the tempo and boxing sharply from the southpaw stance, ‘Bud’ then unleashed a brutal right hook counter in the sixth round to put his man down and out. 

Crawford had big knockouts from Caleb Plant and Joe Cordina to top heading into his homecoming clash, but his savage one-shot stoppage rightfully earns him KO of the Year. 

Other contenders: Caleb Plant KO Anthony Dirrell, Joe Cordina KO Kenichi Ogawa, Deontay Wilder KO Robert Helenius, Tyson Fury KO Dillian Whyte, Gervonta Davis KO Rolando Romero, Leigh Wood KO Michael Conlan, Callum Smith vs Mathieu Bauderlique. 

Performance of the Year: Dmitry Bivol

Dmitry Bivol put in two great back-to-back performances which sees him finish the year as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in boxing today. 

While his title defence against Gilberto Ramirez (earning a wide unanimous decision in the UAE) was highly impressive, it’s his masterclass over Canelo Alvarez that seals him our Performance of the Year award. 

Bivol edges out other top showings from the likes of Devin Haney, who travelled to Australia to become undisputed champion by beating George Kambosos, and Jesse Rodriguez, whose wins over Carlos Cuadras and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai saw his stock rocket. 

Other contenders: Dmitry Bivol vs Gilberto Ramirez, Shakur Stevenson vs Oscar Valdez, Kenshiro Teraji vs Hiroto Kyoguchi, Errol Spence Jr. vs Yordenis Ugas, Devin Haney vs George Kambosos, Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez vs Carlos Cuadras, Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua. 

Upset of the Year: Dmitry Bivol vs Canelo Alvarez 

It’s that man again. Dmitry Bivol may have been the defending champion when facing Canelo Alvarez in Vegas but most fancied the Mexican to continue his rampant run of division success. 

But Bivol shocked those who wrote him off, with a sublime showing of skills and ring intelligence to earn a unanimous decision in Sin City. Not an easy feat to achieve but he did it in style. 

Jesse Rodriguez was another who shocked the world with his impressive world title victories, while Hector Luis Garcia derailed Chris Colbert’s rise and Kiko Martinez rolled back the years to stun both Kid Galahad and Jordan Gill. 

Other contenders: Hector Luis Garcia vs Chris Colbert, Kiko Martinez vs Kid Galahad, Kiko Martinez vs Jordan Gill, Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez vs Carlos Cuadras, Maxi Hughes vs Kid Galahad. 

Breakout Star of the Year: Jesse Rodriguez 

Many young fighters took massive steps in their careers throughout the year with impressive performances and victories, but none shone as bright as Jesse Rodriguez. 

‘Bam’ was undoubtedly the breakout talent of the year, first overcoming Carlos Cuadras to become the youngest world champion in boxing today at just 22 years old. 

The San Antonio-native then followed that up by defending his super-flyweight title with a knockout triumph over the once-destructive puncher Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. 

A third win of the year came in another title defence against tough Mexican challenger Israel Gonzalez. After a life-changing 12 months, Rodriguez has set himself up for an even bigger 2023. 

Other contenders: Xander Zayas, Nick Ball, Richardson Hitchins, David Morrell, Sebastian Fundora. 

Prospect of the Year: Adam Azim

Prospect of the Year is a coveted award that tends to highlight the future star of boxing and it’s Adam Azim takes that honour for 2022. 

This year alone, ‘The Assassin’ has rallied to five consecutive knockout victories on UK soil and provided many highlight reel moments. 

At just 20 years of age and now 7-0, after blowing away Rylan Charlton in November, Azim is on the cusp of becoming a major British boxing star and has all the credentials to go all the way to world level. 

While Azim takes the top prospect honour, other upcoming stars of the year included rising super-middleweight talent Diego Pacheco and former Olympic Silver medallist Keyshawn Davis, who continues to shine in the lightweight division. 

Other contenders: Diego Pacheco, Ashton Sylve, Keyshawn Davis, Bruce Carrington, Jared Anderson.