2022 has already been a stacked year for boxing, and we’re only in our third month. There’s been high profile grudge matches like Kell Brook’s win over Amir Khan. Star-making performances like Natasha Jonas crushing Chris Namus to win her first world title. There’s also been no shortage of controversy, as we saw when Josh Taylor got handed a decision over Jack Catterall that will be talked about for years to come.
But the treats we have enjoyed so far will feel like a mere aperitif compared to a frankly eye-watering six-week spell of bouts this spring. Between 9th April and 14th May, there are six consecutive weekends of extraordinary cards. So get ready to gorge on the sweet science by reading our summary of six weeks of huge fights.
9th April: Gennady Golovkin vs Ryoto Murata & Ryan Garcia vs Emmanuel Tagoe
A juicy double-header to kick us off. ‘GGG’ was originally supposed to defend his IBF middleweight title against WBA belt-holder Murata in December. That fight was postponed due to increased COVID-19 restrictions in Japan, but thankfully it has found a new date. Golovkin is aiming to unify the titles before seeking a third fight with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, rekindling one of the great rivalries of recent years.
Ryan Garcia will fight for the first time in 16 months, since a thrilling stoppage win over Luke Campbell. A mixture of injuries and mental health struggles have kept ‘KingRy’ out of the ring, so it will be a great story if the 23-year-old returns close to his best. Once-beaten veteran Emmanuel Tagoe will be a stern test of his ambitions, and it should make for a thrilling night at the Alamodome in Texas.
16th April: Errol Spence Jr vs Yordenis Ugas
This should be world-class welterweight warfare, as WBA boss Ugas and WBC/IBF king Spence look to unify their titles.
Ugas is coming off a career-win over Manny Pacquiao and will be considered the underdog here. But Spence hasn’t fought since December 2020, and is coming into an elite-level bout with no tune-up. This one is sure to be competitive, and we will need to see the very best of Errol Spence Jr if he is going to walk out with the belts. The winner is likely to be at the front of the queue for an undisputed title unification fight with WBO champion Terence Crawford.
23rd April: Tyson Fury vs Dillian Whyte
A fight that needs no introduction, ‘The Gypsy King’ will finally put his WBC, lineal and The Ring titles on the line against ‘The Body Snatcher’.
Beyond its status as a domestic super-fight, and the grand setting of Wembley Stadium, this fight could prove historic for another reason. Fury has pledged that he will retire after facing Whyte. While this surprising promise remains to be kept, this fight will be unmissable regardless.
The champion puts his unbeaten record on the line against a man who has taken out arguably more top contenders than any other heavyweight around. Dillian Whyte has earned this shot the hard way, and it will be fascinating to see how he gets on with the divisional number one.
30th April: Shakur Stevenson vs Oscar Valdez & Katie Taylor vs Amanda Serrano
Another ridiculously good double-header, it’s actually a shame Top Rank and Matchroom have chosen to directly compete here. Both fights would be considered can’t-miss by the majority of fans, and it’s a shame aficionados will have to choose just one to watch live.
Stevenson vs Valdez is a mouth-watering clash of the unbeaten super featherweights. WBO champion Stevenson is just 24 years old, and already looks like he could be an era-defining talent. Valdez, the WBC king, is a supremely gifted but controversial figure. The Mexican star failed a drug test ahead of his last fight, and most observers still felt opponent Robson Conceicao did enough to get the decision on the scorecards. A strong showing against the superb Stevenson could do a lot to repair his reputation.
Taylor vs Serrano is quite simply one of the biggest fights that can be made in boxing today. Serrano is a phenom, having held nine world titles across seven weight classes. Taylor has been almost flawless since turning professional as a 2012 Olympic champion. The undisputed lightweight champion has never faced a threat like Serrano though. This fight is that rare thing in boxing, two genuine living legends meeting while still in their respective prime. This is the sort of fight that we tune into boxing for, and it is guaranteed to be special.
7th May: Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez vs Dmitry Bivol
This feast of fisticuffs would not be complete without the best fighter on the planet, and the history-making ‘Canelo’ will be fighting this spring. Alvarez returns to the light heavyweight division looking to capture his second title at the weight, having had a brief reign with the WBO title in 2019.
Bivol is a tricky opponent for him. The unbeaten WBA light heavyweight champion has taken some impressive scalps, including wins over Jean Pascal and current WBO champion Joe Smith Jr. The X-Factor here is likely to be his lack of power. If he can’t keep ‘Canelo’ off him for 12 rounds, he is unlikely to emerge victorious.
14th May: Jermell Charlo vs Brian Castano
We end our six-week whistle-stop tour of the best boxing has to offer with an undisputed light middleweight title fight. These two could not be separated last year, when they battled to a split draw.
Castano is unbeaten, and a two-time world champion. Charlo has long been earmarked as a potential mainstream superstar. His 2018 decision loss to underdog Tony Harrison temporarily set him back, but he has since unified three of the four divisional titles. Against Castano, he aims to complete a 154lb clean sweep. It’s a feat Castano will not let him accomplish lightly, in what should be a captivating end to this thrilling month-and-a-half at the fights.