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Boxing’s half year awards featuring Tyson Fury ring walk, Joe Cordina’s KO, Katie Taylor vs Amanda Serrano, plus Jake Paul and Canelo Alvarez conqueror Dimitry Bivol

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Six action-packed months in 2022 have delivered brutal knockouts, upsets, wars and a pound-for-pound king dethroned – but who are the halfway leaders in boxing’s annual awards?

The rest of the year is shaping up to be great too, with Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2, Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin 3 and – hopefully, if the boxing gods are kind – Errol Spence Jr vs Terence Crawford in a belated first meeting.

Crawford vs Spence is arguably the biggest fight that has never been made in boxing

However if there was no more boxing this year, these would be the boxers accepting the award gongs for 2022: from Fighter of the Half-Year and Upset of the Half-Year, to the less desired Robbery of the Half-Year. Let talkSPORT get out our Chris Rock joke-book and dish out the prizes.

KO of the Half-Year: Joe Cordina

From Tyson Fury’s uppercut on Dillian Whyte inside Wembley to Julius Francis’ unofficial one-punch comeback outside Wembley, it’s been a great six months for UK KOs. But the best came in Cardiff, where Cordina – better known for his silky skills – obliterated Kenichi Ogawa to win a super-featherweight world title.

Early in the second round, Cordina detonated a right-hand missile out of nowhere and Ogawa could not beat the count. ‘Tank’ Davis eat your heart out.

Fighter of the Half-Year: Dimitry Bivol

Easy choice when you’ve beaten boxing’s biggest pound-for-pound superstar with a masterful display. Bivol was undefeated, a reigning world champion and Canelo Alvarez was stepping back up in weight to 175lb in May – so perhaps this shouldn’t have felt as huge a shock as it did.

Ignore the too-close 115-113 scorecards: Russia’s Bivol controlled this contest, tattooing Canelo with fast, accurate blows and refusing to fall into the traps that Alvarez set. The outcome was so conclusive that Canelo decided against enacting his rematch clause: the ultimate compliment to Bivol’s brilliance.

Fight of the Half-Year: Taylor W10 Serrano

The atmosphere was red hot, Madison Square Garden split between Irish and Puerto Rican fight fans. Then the bout caught fire in round five when Amanda Serrano battered and bloodied Katie Taylor – a stoppage looked on the cards, but Taylor bit down and battled back as the contest ebbed and flowed to the finish.


Taylor and Serrano went to war at Madison Square Garden, as they battled it out for the undisputed lightweight crown

Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

Taylor and Serrano went to war at Madison Square Garden, as they battled it out for the undisputed lightweight crown

The crowd enjoyed every moment amidst and incredible atmosphere inside New York’s iconic venue

Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

The crowd enjoyed every moment amidst and incredible atmosphere inside New York’s iconic venue

The outcome, a split-decision win for Taylor, could have gone either way. But the main result was that ‘the biggest ever fight in women’s boxing’ lived up to the hype. Leigh Wood vs Michael Conlan and Jermell Charlo’s rematch with Brian Castano were great. But Taylor-Serrano felt like history in the making.

Robbery of the Half-Year: Taylor W12 Catterall

Boxers don’t score fights. So no blame is attached to Josh Taylor who, after a run of superb results, struggled to figure out Jack Catterall when the two southpaws clashed in February. Catterall landed the cleaner blows and scored a knockdown to seal what seemed a clear victory.

Except the judges in Glasgow had different ideas, as Taylor was awarded a split-decision win. Catterall will get other opportunities, but he almost certainly won’t ever get one victory to be crowned undisputed 140lb world champion; a moment stolen from him forever. As the man himself tweeted afterwards: “What a load of s**t!”

Ringwalk of the Half-Year: Tyson Fury

Was there ever any doubt? Fury’s outrageous ring entrance in front of a reported 94,000 at Wembley involved miming to Biggie Smalls’ ‘Juicy’, a gold throne, fireworks from the roof, then Fury disrobing and running to the ring before meeting Dillian Whyte.

Fury’s entrance was just as dazzling as his knockout of Whyte

Getty

Fury’s entrance was just as dazzling as his knockout of Whyte

Any normal fighter might have been put off by the ringwalk’s duration, craziness and impromptu cardio before the first bell. But of course Fury is not normal. So he boxed a punch-perfect fight before stopping Whyte in round six. Proof if any were needed that it’s Tyson Fury’s planet and we’re all just living on it.

Quote of the Half-Year: Jake Paul

“I am on a trajectory to become the biggest prizefighter in the world. For the kids, I look like Mike Tyson. Your grandpa had Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson, your dad had Floyd Mayweather, this generation has Jake Paul.”

Please stop this generation; we want to get off.

In happier quote-related news, Tyson Fury’s son Adonis naming “Deontay Wilder” as the boxer he most wants to be like when he grows up was heartwarmingly hilarious.

Prospect of the Half-Year: Jaron Ennis

He’s had 30 fights (29-0 with a no contest) and has just turned 25, but if we’re counting ‘prospect’ as the best boxer in the sport never to have fought for a recognised world title then Philadelphia’s ‘Boots’ Ennis is in a class of his own.

Ennis is ranked in the top three with all four governing bodies and so a world title shot should be imminent

Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

Ennis is ranked in the top three with all four governing bodies and so a world title shot should be imminent

There are a lot of rising American stars right now, from Vergil Ortiz to Olympian Keyshawn Davis, but boxer-puncher Ennis appears the total package. Even in the talent-rich welterweight division, he looks not just locked-on to be a world champion but – maybe – has a future atop the pound-for-pound rankings.

Trainer of the Half-Year: Derrick James

Shane McGuigan’s stable is thriving, Gennadiy Mashyanov oversaw Bivol’s career-defining win and Ross Enamait deserves recognition for his work with Katie Taylor. But James pips them all with two boxers who bolstered their pound-for-pound status under his watch.

The American was in Errol Spence Jr’s corner when he became the first fighter to stop Yordenis Ugas, unifying three welterweight belts; while James’ other charge – Jermell Charlo – went one better in becoming undisputed champ at 154lb. Lots can happen in the next six months, but Derrick James is leader in the clubhouse for trainer of the year.

Comeback of the Half-Year: Leigh Wood

A comeback of the in-ring variety, rather than out of retirement – but Wood looked up against it when undefeated pre-fight favourite Michael Conlan dumped him on to the canvas in the first round of their featherweight fight. Wood got up, fought back but was well behind on the scorecards after 10 rounds.

Wood has put together an excellent string of wins recently

Mark Robinson/Matchroom

Wood has put together an excellent string of wins recently

However, he knocked down Conlan in the 11th, then spectacularly finished him off in the final round, knocking the Irish amateur standout through the ropes. A scary moment (thankfully Conlan was OK), but a stunning fightback from Wood. The man edged out by Jazza Dickens two years ago has beaten Xu Can and Conlan back-to-back to establish himself at 126lb.

Upset of the Half-Year: Garcia W12 Colbert

Bivol W12 Canelo was a surprise but it wasn’t an odds-defying, out-of-nowhere victory. That’s what befell Chris ‘Prime Time’ Colbert, the US prospect/contender who was one win away from a world title shot and facing a late replacement in unknown Hector Garcia… who utterly dominated Colbert over 12 rounds.

Pre-fight, Garcia was around 11-1 to win. But the 30-year-old southpaw got so far ahead that, by the end, Colbert was simply looking to survive rather than triumph. Now it’s the Dominican Garcia who gets a shot at a super-featherweight world title and – as importantly – the award for talkSPORT’s Upset of the Half-Year.

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Six action-packed months in 2022 have delivered brutal knockouts, upsets, wars and a pound-for-pound king dethroned – but who are the halfway leaders in boxing’s annual awards?

The rest of the year is shaping up to be great too, with Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2, Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin 3 and – hopefully, if the boxing gods are kind – Errol Spence Jr vs Terence Crawford in a belated first meeting.

Crawford vs Spence is arguably the biggest fight that has never been made in boxing

Crawford vs Spence is arguably the biggest fight that has never been made in boxing

However if there was no more boxing this year, these would be the boxers accepting the award gongs for 2022: from Fighter of the Half-Year and Upset of the Half-Year, to the less desired Robbery of the Half-Year. Let talkSPORT get out our Chris Rock joke-book and dish out the prizes.

KO of the Half-Year: Joe Cordina

From Tyson Fury’s uppercut on Dillian Whyte inside Wembley to Julius Francis’ unofficial one-punch comeback outside Wembley, it’s been a great six months for UK KOs. But the best came in Cardiff, where Cordina – better known for his silky skills – obliterated Kenichi Ogawa to win a super-featherweight world title.

Early in the second round, Cordina detonated a right-hand missile out of nowhere and Ogawa could not beat the count. ‘Tank’ Davis eat your heart out.

Fighter of the Half-Year: Dimitry Bivol

Easy choice when you’ve beaten boxing’s biggest pound-for-pound superstar with a masterful display. Bivol was undefeated, a reigning world champion and Canelo Alvarez was stepping back up in weight to 175lb in May – so perhaps this shouldn’t have felt as huge a shock as it did.

Ignore the too-close 115-113 scorecards: Russia’s Bivol controlled this contest, tattooing Canelo with fast, accurate blows and refusing to fall into the traps that Alvarez set. The outcome was so conclusive that Canelo decided against enacting his rematch clause: the ultimate compliment to Bivol’s brilliance.

Fight of the Half-Year: Taylor W10 Serrano

The atmosphere was red hot, Madison Square Garden split between Irish and Puerto Rican fight fans. Then the bout caught fire in round five when Amanda Serrano battered and bloodied Katie Taylor – a stoppage looked on the cards, but Taylor bit down and battled back as the contest ebbed and flowed to the finish.


Taylor and Serrano went to war at Madison Square Garden, as they battled it out for the undisputed lightweight crown

Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

Taylor and Serrano went to war at Madison Square Garden, as they battled it out for the undisputed lightweight crown

The crowd enjoyed every moment amidst and incredible atmosphere inside New York’s iconic venue

Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

The crowd enjoyed every moment amidst and incredible atmosphere inside New York’s iconic venue

The outcome, a split-decision win for Taylor, could have gone either way. But the main result was that ‘the biggest ever fight in women’s boxing’ lived up to the hype. Leigh Wood vs Michael Conlan and Jermell Charlo’s rematch with Brian Castano were great. But Taylor-Serrano felt like history in the making.

Robbery of the Half-Year: Taylor W12 Catterall

Boxers don’t score fights. So no blame is attached to Josh Taylor who, after a run of superb results, struggled to figure out Jack Catterall when the two southpaws clashed in February. Catterall landed the cleaner blows and scored a knockdown to seal what seemed a clear victory.

Except the judges in Glasgow had different ideas, as Taylor was awarded a split-decision win. Catterall will get other opportunities, but he almost certainly won’t ever get one victory to be crowned undisputed 140lb world champion; a moment stolen from him forever. As the man himself tweeted afterwards: “What a load of s**t!”

Ringwalk of the Half-Year: Tyson Fury

Was there ever any doubt? Fury’s outrageous ring entrance in front of a reported 94,000 at Wembley involved miming to Biggie Smalls’ ‘Juicy’, a gold throne, fireworks from the roof, then Fury disrobing and running to the ring before meeting Dillian Whyte.

Fury’s entrance was just as dazzling as his knockout of Whyte

Getty

Fury’s entrance was just as dazzling as his knockout of Whyte

Any normal fighter might have been put off by the ringwalk’s duration, craziness and impromptu cardio before the first bell. But of course Fury is not normal. So he boxed a punch-perfect fight before stopping Whyte in round six. Proof if any were needed that it’s Tyson Fury’s planet and we’re all just living on it.

Quote of the Half-Year: Jake Paul

“I am on a trajectory to become the biggest prizefighter in the world. For the kids, I look like Mike Tyson. Your grandpa had Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson, your dad had Floyd Mayweather, this generation has Jake Paul.”

Please stop this generation; we want to get off.

In happier quote-related news, Tyson Fury’s son Adonis naming “Deontay Wilder” as the boxer he most wants to be like when he grows up was heartwarmingly hilarious.

Prospect of the Half-Year: Jaron Ennis

He’s had 30 fights (29-0 with a no contest) and has just turned 25, but if we’re counting ‘prospect’ as the best boxer in the sport never to have fought for a recognised world title then Philadelphia’s ‘Boots’ Ennis is in a class of his own.

Ennis is ranked in the top three with all four governing bodies and so a world title shot should be imminent

Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

Ennis is ranked in the top three with all four governing bodies and so a world title shot should be imminent

There are a lot of rising American stars right now, from Vergil Ortiz to Olympian Keyshawn Davis, but boxer-puncher Ennis appears the total package. Even in the talent-rich welterweight division, he looks not just locked-on to be a world champion but – maybe – has a future atop the pound-for-pound rankings.

Trainer of the Half-Year: Derrick James

Shane McGuigan’s stable is thriving, Gennadiy Mashyanov oversaw Bivol’s career-defining win and Ross Enamait deserves recognition for his work with Katie Taylor. But James pips them all with two boxers who bolstered their pound-for-pound status under his watch.

The American was in Errol Spence Jr’s corner when he became the first fighter to stop Yordenis Ugas, unifying three welterweight belts; while James’ other charge – Jermell Charlo – went one better in becoming undisputed champ at 154lb. Lots can happen in the next six months, but Derrick James is leader in the clubhouse for trainer of the year.

Comeback of the Half-Year: Leigh Wood

A comeback of the in-ring variety, rather than out of retirement – but Wood looked up against it when undefeated pre-fight favourite Michael Conlan dumped him on to the canvas in the first round of their featherweight fight. Wood got up, fought back but was well behind on the scorecards after 10 rounds.

Wood has put together an excellent string of wins recently

Mark Robinson/Matchroom

Wood has put together an excellent string of wins recently

However, he knocked down Conlan in the 11th, then spectacularly finished him off in the final round, knocking the Irish amateur standout through the ropes. A scary moment (thankfully Conlan was OK), but a stunning fightback from Wood. The man edged out by Jazza Dickens two years ago has beaten Xu Can and Conlan back-to-back to establish himself at 126lb.

Upset of the Half-Year: Garcia W12 Colbert

Bivol W12 Canelo was a surprise but it wasn’t an odds-defying, out-of-nowhere victory. That’s what befell Chris ‘Prime Time’ Colbert, the US prospect/contender who was one win away from a world title shot and facing a late replacement in unknown Hector Garcia… who utterly dominated Colbert over 12 rounds.

Pre-fight, Garcia was around 11-1 to win. But the 30-year-old southpaw got so far ahead that, by the end, Colbert was simply looking to survive rather than triumph. Now it’s the Dominican Garcia who gets a shot at a super-featherweight world title and – as importantly – the award for talkSPORT’s Upset of the Half-Year.

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