Who Are the 7 Boxers Set to Light Up 2022? – Ryan Garcia and Others

| January 14, 2022 11:17 am PST

Fans have many reasons to be excited heading into the new year, with several top boxers set to light up the sport in 2022.

The lightweight division is fast becoming the most exciting in boxing, so expect to see the likes of George Kambosos, Devin Haney, Vasyl Lomachenko, and others enjoy big years. I’ll be looking at a few of the other fighters in that division a little later.

Alongside those key names are the likes of Terence Crawford and Canelo Alvarez. The top pound-for-pound boxers on the planet in 2021 will be looking to turn things up to eleven this year, so you prepare yourself for what should be some edge-of-the-seat stuff.

Let’s kickstart my list of boxers set to light up 2022 with a fighter looking to start the year off with a bang.

Ryan Garcia

Ryan Garcia
  • Division: Lightweight
  • Record: 21-0 (18 KOs)
  • Titles: WBC Interim Lightweight

Garcia stormed into 2021 like a demon, climbing off the canvas to spark out Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell in the first major event of the year.

Garcia scored one of the best knockouts in boxing of 2021 and saw his stock rise as a result. Even his most passionate detractors had little in the form of ammunition to aim at him after that performance. 

As one of the emerging stars of the lightweight division, the youngster — a prized asset of Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions — was expected to do big things in the division. Unfortunately, it was not to be his year.

A bout against Javier Fortuna was canceled in April, with Garcia confirming that he was suffering from “mental health issues.” He took to social media to explain that he would be withdrawing from the public sphere for a while to seek treatment for those issues.

“I know this news may be disappointing to some of my fans, but I am announcing today that I am withdrawing from my July 9th fight.

At this time, it is important to manage my health and well-being. I have decided to take some time off to focus on becoming a stronger version of myself. I hope to be back soon and am looking forward to stepping back into the ring when I am my healthiest self. I want to Thank God, my family, my doctors, and my supporters.”

Garcia was aiming to return to the squared circle in late 2021 but opted to undergo wrist surgery. That has delayed his comeback, but we can expect to see him back inside the ropes at some point in early 2022. 

As for his opponent, that is yet to be finalized. Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz, the man who pushed Gervonta Davis to the bone in December, is rumored to be up next for the Californian. That would be some fight.

Garcia is one of many boxers set to light up the sport in 2022. If the stars align, we could even see him take on another major player at 135-pounds…

Gervonta Davis

  • Division: Lightweight
  • Record: 26-0 (24 KOs)
  • Titles: WBA (Regular) Lightweight
Gervonta Davis

Having scored a superb knockout over Leo Santa Cruz in 2020, “Tank” Davis was tipped for big things in 2021. 

His first of two fights last year ended with a late TKO over Mario Barros in June. Davis was a heavy favorite for that fight and got the job done. He didn’t leave the ring without answering every question, but it was a stoppage victory, nonetheless.

His decision win over Isaac Cruz came with some controversy, however. Again, Davis was favored to get the win with the top boxing betting apps and sites but did not look good value for his price. Some believed he was lucky to come away with the win at all.

The CompuBox stats showed that Davis landed just 12 more punches than Cruz (133-of-462 to 121-of-553) with just one more power punch (113-of-285 to 112-of-425) and 11 jabs over Pitbull (20-of-177 to 9-of-128).

Much to the disappointment of some, the scorecards read 116-112, 115-113, and 115-113 for Davis, who went the distance for just the second time in his professional career.

Things are about to get tougher for the Floyd Mayweather protege. I can see Davis going down as one of the fighters to watch in boxing in 2022, for that reason alone. The competition is going to get better, so it’s only natural to expect to see the best of the Baltimore-native.

A potential scrap with the unified champion, George Kambosos Jr., is on the cards. If that bout doesn’t happen, the likes of Devin Haney or Ryan Garcia could be available for Tank if he holds off until the summer. 

You can stay on top of the latest fight news and CompuBox numbers by adding these recommended Twitter handles for boxing fans.

Shakur Stevenson

  • Division: Super Featherweight
  • Record: 17-0 (9 KOs)
  • Titles: WBO Super Featherweight
Shakur Stevenson

I’ve been watching Stevenson like a hawk since the youngster took silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Like many boxing fans, I’ve been impressed with the American’s rise up the ranks. Already a two-division world champion, the 24-year-old looks guaranteed to be one of boxing’s breakout stars of 2022.

He has it all, and if he can continue to cultivate his talents, he could go right to the top.

The WBO super featherweight champion stopped the talented Jamel Herring in October and could be set for unification bouts against Oscar Valdez or Kenichi Ogawa. Either of those matchups would be incredible. 

If Stevenson clears out his current division, he could be yet another superb addition to the lightweight picture. Whatever happens, he should be one of the top fighters to watch in 2022. 

Terence Crawford

  • Division: Welterweight
  • Record: 38-0 (29 KOs)
  • Titles: WBO Welterweight
Terence Crawford

One of the boxers set to shine in 2022 is Terence Crawford. 

Although his career over the past few years has been frustrating to watch, mostly on account of matches against inferior opposition, Crawford had a significant 2021.

Matched up against former world champion Shawn Porter, many saw the fight as the first real test of Bud’s mettle at 147-pounds.

Porter, an elite-level welterweight, could not handle the unbeaten Nebraskan and fell to the first stoppage defeat of his career before announcing his retirement.

Even more monumental for Crawford was Bob Arum’s decision to cut ties with the champion. The Top Rank boss claimed that Bud was not a marketable fighter, and decided to let him go.

This is significant for many reasons, of course. The main one being that we could be closer than ever to seeing a super fight between Crawford and WBC/IBF champ, Errol Spence Jr.

If the Spence vs. Crawford fight is confirmed, we will have the biggest fight there is to be made in boxing right now. In the past, it has looked about as likely to happen as getting bitten by a dinosaur at a Denny’s, but the same cannot be said right now. 

Crawford is one of the boxers set to light up 2022. You can read about some of the others that could make this year one of the best in a long time. 

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Naoya Inoue

  • Division: Bantamweight
  • Record: 22-0 (19 KOs)
  • Titles: WBA (Super), IBF, and The Ring Bantamweight
Naoya Inoue

There are fewer top boxers in 2022 that will light up the ring more than this guy.

Naoya “The Monster” Inoue is a fighter that lives up to his moniker. Although he fights at the bantamweight limit, the ferociously powerful native of Zama, Japan, is a man that belies his diminutive stature. 

A devastating puncher with speed, technical prowess, and an incredible boxing brain, he is one of the finest operators in the sport today. 

Inoue, currently ranked as the world’s fourth-best pound-for-pound boxer by The Ring, is set to see his stock rise this year. Boxing fans will be happy to fill the casual fan in on the excellence of this guy. It’s a shame that he’s not a household name, but he will see his profile grow in stature in 2022. 

Inoue’s next fight is rumored to be a unification clash with WBO champ, John Riel Casimero. After that, he is aiming at jumping up a weight class.

“Each and every fan is going to have expectations. And I want to defy and go beyond each and every one of their expectations. You can’t keep at this unless you really like it. There may be injuries and a risk to your life. It’s a dangerous sport. It’s not something you can do without liking it.

I am still far from the ideal style of boxing I am pursuing. If I get contented now, then I will just hit a wall when I go to super bantamweight. There’s so much farther to go before I reach my peak, and I still don’t know my true potential.

I still have seven or eight years as a pro, and so I’m going to keep heading higher.”

Whatever you say, Naoya.

Regardless of who or what class he’s fighting in, I’ll be tuning in. The guy is a phenomenal talent and one of the top boxers to watch out for in 2022.

Tyson Fury

  • Division: Heavyweight
  • Record: 31-0-1 (22 KOs)
  • Titles: WBC Heavyweight
Tyson Fury

A man that needs no introduction.

To say Tyson Fury is one of the best boxers that will light up 2022 is a little redundant. The guy could descend into a black hole and illuminate it. Larger than life, and one hell of a fighter, the “Gypsy King” is adored by boxing fans around the world.

Well, those that aren’t devoted members of the church of Deontay Wilder, that is. 

If you’re wondering when Tyson Fury’s next fight is, the date has not been finalized yet. I can tell you who he’ll face next, however. The big man is set to take on longtime WBC mandatory Dillian Whyte at some point in the second quarter of the year. 

You can already find betting odds for Fury vs. Whyte, so feel free to check my piece on those.

Canelo Alvarez

  • Division: Super Middleweight
  • Record: 57-1-2 (39 KOs)
  • Titles: Undisputed Super Middleweight Champion
Canelo Alvarez

Is it a little predictable to see Canelo named as one of the top boxers that will light up 2022?

Maybe it is. But that doesn’t change the fact that the guy is compulsive viewing when he steps into the ropes. Regardless of whether you love him or hate him, you’re tuning in to watch him fight. 

Alvarez enjoyed a stellar 2021, as he went on to beat two undefeated fighters in Billy Joe Saunders and Caleb Plant to achieve undisputed status at 168-pounds. An incredible achievement and one which the Mexican is the first in history to have done. 

What’s in store for Canelo in 2022? Well, he is setting his sights on a title in a fifth division, with the winner of the upcoming Junior Makabu vs. Thabiso Mchunu bout likely to be his target. 

Although he was recently named among the best boxers of the year in 2021 by several publications, you’ll have to read the following piece to see where I rank him alongside his peers.

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Betting on Boxing’s Best Fighters in 2022

A new year means a ton of major fights to look forward to. Or, to put it another way, a range of boxing matches you can bet on. 

You can keep track of the latest gambling odds and advice for wagering on the big stars of the sport by following our boxing betting blog. We’ll be covering the headline-makers and key clashes while providing our recommended picks and much more. 

I’m looking forward to seeing the boxers that will light up 2022 do their thing inside the ropes as the year goes on. I’ll leave you with a few tips that could help you make money from them, as they chase further glory.

Adam Haynes

Adam is a sports writer and tipster with a strong background in MMA, boxing, and combat sports.

When Adam isn't writing about those, as well as politics, rugby, and Gaelic Games, he can be found working on methods and strategies to beat the bookies.

For his troubles, Adam is a fan of Leinster Rugby, Glasgow Celtic, and trusting the process.

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