British boxing is booming at the moment. There are a number of high-level competitors, champions and contenders in a number of different divisions. Although the poster boy of British boxing, Anthony Joshua is coming off a loss, it doesn’t tarnish British boxing’s future too much. We take a look at some of the British boxers who are set for a huge 2022.
British Boxers Set to Have a Huge 2022
Conor Benn had a huge 2021 and has set himself up for a massive 2022. Starting his year off with a phenomenal round one knockout over Samuel Vargas, Benn went on to score a unanimous decision over Adrian Granados in September. His biggest win of 2021 occurred when he brutally finished Chris Algieri in December. Having only lost to Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan and Error Spence Jr, Algieri was Benn’s toughest test to date. Benn finished the American quicker than anyone has previously.
The 25-year-old welterweight could face the WBA champion, Yordenis Ugas next. Benn holds the WBA Continental belt so it’s the fight that makes sense. If not, there are rumours that he could face Adrien Broner or Robert Guerrero. Whatever happens, 2022 is going to be huge for Conor Benn.
The undisputed light-welterweight champion only fought once in 2021, however, it was a huge fight. Taking on Jose Ramirez in May, Taylor cemented himself as one of the P4P best. He’s scheduled to take on Jack Catterall in February. The bout was originally scheduled for December, however, Taylor suffered an injury and the bout had to be rescheduled. Assuming that Taylor gets through his WBO mandatory, Catterall, he is likely to move up in weight to compete at welterweight, throwing a huge spanner in the works.
— Boxing News (@BoxingNewsED) December 31, 2021
As the WBC champion, he has the automatic right to a title shot should he retain his belt and choose to move up in weight. As the WBC welterweight champion, Errol Spence Jr would have to face Taylor. That would be a huge fight in the welterweight division and provide plenty of headlines.
Rounding out 2020 with a disappointing loss against Lydon Arthur in a British grudge match, Anthony Yarde bounced back in a big way in 2021. Blitzing his way through Alex Theran in the first round, Yarde was given a shot at redemption against Arthur in December. Yarde did what he should have done in the first fight, use his power to dominate his opponent. He jumped on Arthur from the get go, didn’t let him get his range or allow him to get his jab going and finished the fight in the fourth round.
— Anthony Yarde (@mranthonyyarde) December 26, 2021
Yarde could make his way through the domestic scene. Callum Johnson, Callum Smith and Joshua Buatsi could all be next for Yarde.
Daniel Dubois looked down and out on his luck starting off 2021. He was coming off his first professional defeat, a devastating loss to Joe Joyce, where he broke his orbital bone and showed huge weaknesses. There were clear holes in Dubois’ game but being just 23, he was young enough to make the relevant changes. Changing trainers to work with Shane McGuigan, Dubois bounced back with a vicious knockout of Bogdan Dinu. He then faced Joe Cusumano in his American debut, knocking him out in the first round. He’s set up a fight with the WBA (regular) champion, Trevor Bryan in 2022 due to being his mandatory. If he can get through Bryan (who first needs to get through Mahmoud Charr), Dubois puts himself right in the title picture.
The aforementioned, Joe Joyce is in a brilliant position in the heavyweight division. At 13-0, the Olympic silver medalist went just 1-0 in 2021, but it was a big TKO victory over Carlos Takam. Since defeating Dubois at the end of 2020, Joyce has called out the current champion, Oleksandr Usyk. Usyk defeated Anthony Joshua in September. It’s difficult to deny Joe Joyce a shot at the winner of Usyk/Joshua in their assumed rematch, however, with that being said, we know that boxing doesn’t always make the deserved match-ups. Joyce could face Joseph Parker as both men are ranked #1 and #2 with the WBO. The winner of this one would have to get a title shot later on in the year.
Callum Smith failed at the end of 2020 in his quest to defeat Canelo Alvarez and subsequently made the move up to light heavyweight. It was long overdue as Smith cut a lot of weight to make super-middleweight. Knocking out Lenin Castillo in the second round of their bout in September, Smith burst onto the light heavyweight scene. Ranked in the top 10 of all of the governing bodies (aside from the IBF), Smith is already a big player. A fight that makes sense is to make an all British clash between Callum Smith and Joshua Buatsi. Buatsi is ranked higher than Smith with all the governing bodies, aside from the WBC. Buatsi is yet to be tested in his 15 fight career and hasn’t fought anyone of note yet. A fight against Smith would show just what level Buatsi is at.
A lesser-known phenom, Sunny Edwards is one of the best P4P British boxers out there. The 25-year-old is a brilliant 17-0, however, due to his weight (flyweight), he doesn’t hold too many knockouts (just four on his record). Skill for skill, he’s arguably the best of all the British boxers. He epitomises the ‘hit and don’t get hit’ style. The IBF champion has made just the one defence of his belt, under the new ‘Probellum’ banner in December. Expect him to compete for more world titles in 2022. Julio Cesar Martinez, Artem Dalakian and Junto Nakatani will all be on Edwards’ radar, being the other champions in the division. With that being said, the Martinez fight makes a lot of sense. Martinez fought Edwards’ older brother, Charlie Edwards. The fight ended in a no-contest after Martinez hit Edwards when he was down. The ‘brother’s revenge’ storyline would work well for this one.
Lawrence Okolie began 2021 without a world title and ended it with two emphatic performances and the WBO strap. The Brit defeated Krzysztof Glowacki via sixth-round TKO in March before dominating Dilan Prasovic at the end of the year. With the WBC champion seemingly tied up with a potential Canelo fight, Okolie has two options. Pursue a WBA or IBF cruiserweight belt, taking on either Mairis Briedis or Arsen Goulamirian. The latter would certainly be a more straightforward fight as Goulamirian has only fought outside of his native France twice, back in 2015. His level of competition has also been far lower than Briedis’, making it an easier fight for Okolie. ‘The Sauce’ also has the option of moving up to heavyweight and clashing with the big names up there. Whether this inevitable move will come in 2022 or later on in his career is unclear as of yet.
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