Biggest Boxing Upsets of 2022
With 2023 just around the corner, it’s time to look back and review what happened in the boxing world in 2022. There were many great fights this year, and some of them had results that shocked the boxing world. We’re going over what we consider to be the five biggest boxing upsets of 2022; some are based on the massive gap in the odds of both fighters, while others are included for their impact on the sport. Each one was a fun event to watch and bet on.
Dmitry Bivol Pulls Off an Upset Against Canelo Alvarez: May 2022
We have to start with the biggest boxing upset of the year, and one of the biggest betting shocks of recent times inside the ring. The most famous boxer in the world saw his reign come to a crashing end in May when he entered the ring against Dmitry Bivol as a heavy -550 favourite. Canelo Alvarez hadn’t lost since he faced Floyd Mayweather Jr. back in 2013, and he had put together a run of 14 wins and one draw in that timespan. He was the undisputed super middleweight champion, but was keen to return to the light heavyweight class, where he claimed the WBO title in 2019. His opponent, Bivol, was undefeated with a 19-0 record and was putting his WBA (Super) light-heavyweight title on the line as a +400 underdog.
No one could have predicted how the fight played out. Bivol maintained control from the start and landed 152 punches out of 710 thrown. Canelo landed just 84 of 495. Bivol also landed 46 jabs to Canelo’s 10 and relied on his footwork to dodge and pivot around attacks. The judges’ scorecards all had Bivol selected as the winner by a score of 115-113, which was a bit generous for Canelo. Had the judges scored it in favour of the Mexican, that really would have been one of the biggest boxing upsets of all time – given Bivol’s dominance.
Hector Luis Garcia Stuns Chris Colbert: February 2022
Another total surprise came in the Hector Garcia vs Chris Colbert fight in February 2022 in Las Vegas. Colbert was a heavy favourite to beat Roger Gutierrez in the original matchup and take the junior lightweight world title, but Gutierrez had to pull out of the bout when he tested positive for COVID-19. With two weeks’ notice, Dominican fighter Garcia stepped in as a replacement and was pegged as a +1100 underdog against the more seasoned Colbert (-3300) who had just defended his WBA interim super featherweight title against Tugstsogt Nyambayar.
Colbert admitted to not knowing much about the late replacement but was confident he could handle it. Meanwhile, Garcia was familiar with Colbert’s fighting style going into it and said that much of his sparring was done in a similar fast pace, which he believed would give him an edge in the ring. Garcia backed it up in the ring, where he pulled off a stunning upset by unanimous decision. Colbert struggled to channel the power needed to deliver real damage to his unrelenting opponent and by the end of final couple of rounds, it became clear that Garcia would pull away with the victory.
Jeremiah Nakathila Beats The Odds Against Miguel Berchelt: March 2022
After losing his WBC super featherweight title to Oscar Valdez in February 2021 in his eighth defence, Miguel Berchelt wanted to move up to the lightweight division. In his divisional debut, he was a heavy -700 betting favourite against Jeremiah Nakathila (+400), who travelled from Namibia for the matchup. Nakathila was coming off of a TKO victory over Ndodana Ncube in his native country. Just before that match, Nakathila was in Las Vegas against Shakur Stevenson, who beat him by unanimous decision.
Nakathila’s match against Berchelt was his second in Las Vegas, and he was much more prepared this time around; he dominated from the start and knocked down Berchelt with a jab in the third round. After three more rounds of dominance, Berchelt’s team decided to retire him from the fight, as he was far behind on the scorecards and sustaining a lot of damage. It was a turn up for the books, and definitely one of the biggest boxing upsets of the year.
Martin Bakole Upsets The Boxing World Against Tony Yoka: May 2022
In the heavyweight division, Tony Yoka, a 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist, put his undefeated professional boxing career on the line when he entered the ring against seasoned boxer Martin Bakole. Yoka had hoped to fight Filip Hrgovic in an IBF eliminator bout instead of Bakole, but had no choice but to go through Bakole first. Yoka was a -350 betting favourite against Bakole (+260) and was at a point in his career where a big win would have proven that he was a real contender to be taken seriously. Unfortunately for Yoka, that’s not the way the way things went.
Bakole started strong by registering the first of two knockdowns early in the bout and stunned his opponent with solid combinations round after round. Yoka bled profusely from a cut beside his eye and a bloody nose. At one point, Bakole looked to Yoka’s corner to see why they weren’t ending the fight to protect their boxer. At the end, when the judges’ scorecards were read, there was disbelief that one of them declared the match a tie, leading to a majority decision.
Yuichi Ideta Surprises Makoto Kawasaki: November 2022
Over in Japan, super welterweight champion Makoto Kawasaki entered the ring against Yuichi Ideta as the main event of the 94th Phoenix Battle in Tokyo. Ideta was a major underdog as he had a bad stretch of 11 straight losses before finally winning two and then losing to Hironori Shigeta in May 2022 at Korakuen Hall. Going into the fight, Ideta was given a 2% chance of winning against the more dominant Kawasaki, who had two unanimous decision wins before boxing to a draw against Ryosuke Maruki in June 2022.
By round 3, Ideta was gaining ground on the champion using a give-and-take fighting style. By the ninth round, Ideta did the inconceivable: he won the title via KO/TKO to become a world champion at the age of 39 with a 16-16-1 record. Anything can happen in boxing and boxing betting.
2022 played hosts to some of the biggest boxing upsets of recent times, and while you can never be too sure of anything inside the ring, you can bet there will be more to come in 2023 and beyond. As ever, Bodog Sportsbook will be central to all the hard-hitting action.