BOXING shot itself in the hand repeatedly in 2022 with some of the biggest fights collapsing long before the first bell.
By far the biggest swerve came when Anthony Joshua refused to accept Tyson Fury’s heavyweight challenge.
Elsewhere, Terence Crawford and Errol Spence continued to dodge each other at welterweight.
On top of dodgy decisions and doping scandals, major fights collapsing over money and ego turn fans away from the sport on a monthly basis.
But, thankfully, plenty of heroes did step up to the plate last year to provide us some beautiful, brutal boxing.
SunSport takes a look at the five best fights from 2022…
Leigh Wood vs Michael Conlan – March 12
Irish Olympic icon Conlan cannot say he was not warned by his featherweight rival.
The Belfast man taunted and teased Wood about his boxing ability in the build-up with a tongue as quick as his feet and hands.
But Wood quietly informed his foe that his freakish one-punch meant he would be a genuine threat even if 11 rounds down on the scorecards and heading for certain defeat.
When Wood was dropped in the first round, it looked like it would be an even more textbook win for Conlan.
But the underdog rallied, dropped Conlan in the 11th and knocked him clean out of the ring with just a few seconds of the fight remaining for a fairytale win.
Katie Taylor vs Amanda Serrano – April 30
Ireland’s Olympic legend vs Puerto Rico’s seven-weight world champion at Madison Square Garden delivered an epic fight.
The two boxing nations already punch well above their weights and these two women did their nations proud.
Taylor emerged victorious and retained her title as the undisputed lightweight queen with a split decision.
But Serrano came closest to the stoppage and – having been a world champ as low as super-flyweight – she gained huge respect from the narrow loss.
Chris Billam-Smith vs Isaac Chamberlain – July 30
Bournemouth gentleman CBS took big-time boxing back to the South Coast and packed his local arena with 3,000 screaming fans.
Brixton’s Chamberlain should have been intimated by the scorching atmosphere and gone on the back foot but he stood and traded with his cruiserweight rival over 12 gruelling and bloody rounds.
Both men looked disfigured by the end but only the three scorecards – all of 117-111 – were ugly as it was a much closer contest.
CBS retained his cruiserweight and European titles and the bout exceeded all expectations.
Jordan Gill vs Karim Guerfi – February 27
Peterborough featherweight Gill was behind on all three scorecards – going into the ninth round – after being dropped in the seventh and outboxed for most of the fight.
With a draw and a loss in his previous five fights, he was fighting for his career – and losing.
Round eight and the start of nine were hard to watch as the brave Englishman took a pasting and started to bruise and bleed.
Backed up into his corner and with his swollen right eye giving him problems and the referee inspecting the worsening wound, he looked finished.
Then he dug into his soul and pulled out a right hand that wiped the Frenchman clean out and secured one of the finest British comebacks of modern time.
Joe Joyce vs Joseph Parker – September 24
These two giants starred in a Manchester bloodbath that secured Joyce’s position at the front of the heavyweight world title chasing pack.
Kiwi former WBO champ Parker punched the Putney Juggernaut with every shot in the book but could not put a single dent in the undefeated amateur artist.
After a trademark slow start, Joyce started slashing lumps and lacerations into Parker’s face, one particularly evil dig even sent blood spewing over the ringside photographers.
Parker’s spirit and chin were broken in the 11th round when Joyce unleashed a hellish left hook that sent him tumbling to the floor for the correct stoppage.
Turkish Super Lig champions Galatasaray are lining up a January move for Club Brugge...
Former Tottenham Hotspur star, Darren Bent has claimed that Manchester United are too big...
Manchester United legend Dwight Yorke has told manager Erik ten Hag not to allow...