As 2022 draws to a close, there has been an air of disappointment around the sport as certain big fights struggled to be made once more.
There was no Spence-Crawford and no Fury-Joshua, which were at the top of many fans’ 2021 Christmas list. Although, this year, it was the turn of the women to take over as female boxing had its greatest year to date.
Whilst boxing politics slowly but surely deteriorated interest in the sport on the men’s side, the women saw their opportunity and grabbed it with both hands.
The big fights were made and records were shattered as the women reached new levels of superstardom and broke through the threshold to become household names – if they weren’t already.
Much of the success is down to Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano, who became the first females to headline a boxing card at the historic Madison Square Garden. This was a must-see fight in the sport and to say it delivered is a real understatement.
Taylor and Serrano justified their seven-figure purses by putting on a Fight of the Year contender, as the Irishwoman won a split decision.
The fight broke down the barrier between a big fight and a big women’s fight, generating $1.45m in ticket sales alone as they sold out MSG.
This fight set a precedent and, in October, Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall followed it up with an all-female card live on Sky Sports. Shields won in another cracker.
Meanwhile, the undisputed super-featherweight title was up for grabs on the undercard, with Alycia Baumgardner edging the cards and beating Mikaela Mayer by split-decision and catapulting herself into the limelight as a result.
In November, both Chantelle Cameron and Natasha Jonas joined the party, becoming undisputed and unified champions respectively, with Jonas headlining a card in Liverpool.
Now, it seems that the rise of women’s boxing can only continue, with its superstars becoming faces of the sport. The next step is a stadium fight, and it could be right around the corner.
Taylor and Serrano are expected to have a rematch in 2023, only this time it may be in front of over 80,000 fans, at Croke Park in Taylor’s native Ireland.
The standout point for the women’s game this year was the willingness for the best to fight the best and make the sport about the sport rather than the money. Let’s hope the other side of boxing can follow suit.