Considering the highs and lows Covid-19 put us through, 2021 was a fantastic year for boxing. Canelo Alvarez won the undefeated super middleweight belt and Josh Taylor accomplished this at junior welterweight. Oleksandr Usyk defeated Anthony Joshua to win triple heavyweight titles, while Tyson Fury retained his lineal heavyweight title by beating Deontay Wilder in the match of the year. The next question to arise is, “who are the upcoming top boxers of 2022?”
The 24-year-old New Jersey native, Shakur Stevenson, is someone to look out for heading towards the list of the top boxers in 2022. His defensive abilities are exceptional with the drive to remain on top. Even if he’s not yet the second coming of Floyd Mayweather, his only focus is to be the greatest Shakur Stevenson. And we can’t wait to see where this leads him.
Stevenson has all the makings of a boxing champion, with his speed, agility, and undefeated record in the international competition. In April, he will face long-awaited foe Oscar Valdez in a prestigious matchup.
Stevenson, who is ranked No. 1 at 130 pounds by The Ring, won the WBO championship against Jamel Herring in October with a 10th-round finish. Stevenson is victorious in seventeen fights, with ten knockouts, as well as formerly holding the WBO featherweight belt.
Although Stevenson has clearly been dominating every fight with ease and skill, will Stevenson successfully defeat Valdez and reign as unified champion? Stevenson no longer wants to see any pound-for-pound lists without his name at the top. His next competition is scheduled to take place on April 30th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The 19-year-old Puerto Rican boxer had a breakthrough in 2020 and is notably the youngest prospect in boxing this year. Xander Zayas, who was signed at the age of 16, has already begun making a name for himself. So much so that boxing organizations are considering him for the “Prospect of the Year” award.
As a rookie, Zayas won eleven national titles in the United States. Zayas comes from a boxing-crazed country that brought us Miguel Cotto, Felix Trinidad, and Hector Camacho. He has seven knockouts in his first ten professional debuts. On the undercard of the Lomachenko-Commey fight, Zavas beat Alessio Mastronunzig in the first round.
This was his sixth fight of the year, a rigorous schedule that has left him feeling thankful to his team and more confident in his professional progress. A star-studded lineup of sparring opponents has also aided Zayas’ advancement, with the likes of George Kambosos Jr, Danny Jacobs, Gerventa Davis, Shawn Porter, and Teofime Lopez all sharing a ring with him.
Competing on the undercards of high-profile title matches has surely been a moment to remember for Zayas, but he’s used it as an opportunity to obtain advice from veterans who’ve reached the spot he’s striving for. Zayas had a successful year in the professional ranks of boxing in 2021. He won six fights to move to 12-0 with nine knockouts competing at 154 pounds.
Florida’s very own Erickson “The Hammer” Lubin has something to prove in 2022. The Floridan southpaw trains locally here at Delray Beach Boxing Club. He has progressed from an outstanding amateur fighter to an unstoppable professional boxer, and he is on his way to becoming a world champion in the talented 154-pound weight class.
Lubin was matched up against defending unified champion Jeison Rosario on June 26, 2021, at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. Securing his seventeenth knockout, Lubin secured the win. The fight was a co-feature to the Gervonta Davis-Mario Barrios title fight on SHOWTIME pay-per-view on PBC.
A few of Lubin’s top boxing inspirations are Floyd Mayweather, Meldrick Taylor, Pernell Whitaker, ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard, and Andre Ward. Lubin, now 25, is more seasoned and determined to continue climbing to the top since his first championship opportunity at age 22. He is unquestionably the leader of the next generation of Super-Welterweights, as well as a potential world champion.
“I want a shot at the world title next. I want everyone at 154 pounds. I’m No. 1 in the WBC but I chose to fight Rosario. I don’t duck anybody. I want to say that I fought everyone in my division when I won the world title.”
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