Despite returning from the midst of the pandemic, boxing produced many memorable moments and provided huge fights across an exciting 2021.
Building off that welcomed momentum, the stage is set for the sport’s biggest stars and most promising talents to take to the ring for further high-profile match-ups this year.
BOXRAW outline the biggest potential fights ahead of what looks set to be a great 2022 for boxing.
Canelo Alvarez vs. Jermall Charlo
There’s no questioning who the face of boxing is right now. Canelo Alvarez has taken up the pound-for-pound mantle and finished 2021 with deserved Fighter of the Year honours alongside esteemed coach Eddy Reynoso.
As the top dog and leading Box Office attraction, Canelo has no shortage of potential opponents; either desiring a life-changing payday or seeking the opportunity to earn a famous victory.
Middleweight champion Jermall Charlo looks most likely be the next man to stand across from Canelo in the ring in 2022, with the undisputed super-middleweight ruler having also been linked with facing David Benavidez, Artur Beterbiev and Ilungu Makabu.
Gervonta Davis vs. George Kambosos Jr.
Lightweight is stacked with talent and there are a number of potential ‘super-fights’ that could be made in the coming months, if all parties are willing to do so.
George Kambosos Jr. propelled himself towards the top of the pile with his upset victory over Teofimo Lopez Jr. last year, becoming unified lightweight world champion in New York City.
In that time, Gervonta Davis also continued his run as a pay-per-view draw across America with two successes over Mario Barrios and Isaac Cruz. Both division title holders look to be on a collision course for later in 2022 as a result, in what would be a huge lightweight showdown.
Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk
When the heavyweight division thrives, so too does boxing as a whole. This was the case last year with the big guys capturing the attention through both Tyson Fury’s trilogy knock out of Deontay Wilder and Oleksandr Usyk’s dethroning of Anthony Joshua.
Those two reigning heavyweight title holders could, and should, collide for all the marbles this year to decide who the baddest man on the planet is.
Having one undisputed heavyweight king would be another hugely positive step for boxing going forward. That’s if Fury can first get past the threat posed by Dillian Whyte after the pair agreed to an all-British battle next.
Anthony Joshua vs. Deontay Wilder
Anything can happen in heavyweight boxing. As the saying goes, it only takes one shot. That’s perhaps more relevant with Deontay Wilder than any other fighter today.
Despite a second stoppage loss to long-standing rival Tyson Fury, ‘The Bronze Bomber’ is still one of the most exciting and devastating punchers around.
A showdown with Anthony Joshua, who could end up in a similar career position if he opts for an Oleksandr Usyk rematch early this year, would have all the ingredients for another pulsating heavyweight meeting.
Errol Spence Jr. vs. Terence Crawford
Could 2022 be the year fans finally see Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford face-off? The two welterweight champions have been clear leaders of the division for some time.
The pair have been tipped to meet for years in one of the biggest fights that can be made in boxing.
With ‘Bud’ now a free agent and Spence Jr. returning from a recent injury setback, this highly-awaited mega-fight could finally come to fruition towards the end of the year.
Naoya Inoue vs. Nonito Donaire II
If Naoya Inoue and Nonito Donaire can replicate even a percentage of their first fight in a potential rematch, then fans will be in for another spectacle.
‘The Monster’ from Japan earned a hard-fought decision victory over the experienced Donaire in a 2019 fire-fight to win the World Boxing Super Series.
But Donaire has since boosted his future Hall of Fame credentials by becoming world champion again and a rematch looks possible for 2022.
Stephen Fulton Jr. vs. Murodjon Akhmadaliev
One of the breakout stars of 2021, Philadelphia talent Stephen Fulton Jr. is chasing undisputed success at super-bantamweight this year after previous world title wins over Angelo Leo and Brandon Figueroa.
With Uzbekistan star Murodjon Akhmadaliev in possession of the other two belts in their shared division, an undisputed match-up between the two undefeated champions in 2022 is likely to take place.
Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Devin Haney
Ukraine’s Vasyl Lomachenko bounced back from a defeat to Teofimo Lopez Jr. to secure impressive comeback triumphs over Masayoshi Nakatani and Richard Commey last year.
In pursuit of regaining a world title, he could potentially take on WBC lightweight title holder and rising American talent Devin Haney later in 2022.
It’s a fascinating match-up among the current group of lightweight leaders who are aiming to stake their claim as the main man of the division.
Josh Taylor vs. Teofimo Lopez Jr.
Scotland’s undisputed light-welterweight champion Josh Taylor established himself as one of the most well-rounded fighters in the world in 2021, while Teofimo Lopez is aiming to bounce back from a maiden career defeat to George Kambosos Jr.
The latter lost his lightweight titles in an upset loss at Madison Square Garden and has outlined intentions of moving up in weight.
Taylor could await him in that division for a massive showdown on American soil, if the 140 pounds ruler can deal with the challenge that mandatory opponent Jack Catterall brings first.
Header image: Frank Franklin II/AP