2021 promised so much for heavyweight boxing, and thankfully it delivered the goods as fans got to witness two blockbuster fights.
WBC champion Tyson Fury climbed off the canvas on two occasions to beat Deontay Wilder for a second time in October, while Oleksandr Usyk dethroned Anthony Joshua at the end of September.
Dreams of an all-British unification clash are on hold for now, but there is only one heavyweight fight fans want this year.
However, boxing politics is likely to delay the bout, so it makes sense to look at other potential fights that could occur this year.
Fury the Man to Beat
Fan-favourite Fury remains top of the world rankings after a gutsy performance against Wilder last time out.
As Ring Magazine champion, Fury remains the man to beat, but nobody has managed to do that during his 32-fights. Wilder somehow got a draw in their first fight, but Fury made it clear who is the better fighter towards the end of last year.
Usyk’s victory over Joshua extended his record to 19-0, and he looked a class above the Brit, who weirdly tried to outbox the former undisputed cruiserweight champion.
Joshua and his team are chasing a rematch, while Wilder has gone quiet since his latest defeat.
Dillian Whyte sits fourth in the world rankings, and he is chasing Fury as a mandatory challenger, but it seems to be taking a long time for the respective parties to finalise that deal.
Joseph Parker’s points win over Derek Chisora pushed him into the top five in the world, while Andy Ruiz Jr, Luis Ortiz, Joe Joyce, Filip Hrgovic and Frank Sanchez round off the top ten.
Who to Watch out for?
If Hrgovic can get anybody to fight him, then he should catch the eye in 2022.
The 29-year-old has won every one of his 14 fights, with 12 of those victories coming inside the scheduled distance.
Plenty of established fighters seem to be avoiding the Croatian, and it is easy to see why.
Even at 36, Britain’s Joe Joyce will have a chance in a world title fight.
The Londoner has a granite chin and hits incredibly hard; ask the 12 opponents he has stopped if you do not believe us.
Fellow Brit Daniel Dubois needs to stay active, but he can cause problems after moving to work with Shane McGuigan, while American Jared Anderson, who trains with Fury, is one to keep an eye out for.
Chances of Fury vs Joshua in 2022?
Promoter Eddie Hearn was adamant the two were going to fight in 2021, and a deal had been agreed with Saudi Arabia before further politics got in the way.
Fury and his team have already started training for a March fight, and if he does not face Whyte, he is likely to enjoy a relatively relaxed return to the ring.
For Joshua to face Fury, he would need to produce a strong showing against Usyk. Should he win his rematch, then it is more likely with all the belts on the line.
However, a repeat victory for Usyk will be music to Fury’s ears as he tries to make history against the Ukrainian.
Realistically both fighters need to win their upcoming bouts, or the ship may have sailed.