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On many fronts, it was another epic year for boxing in 2022.
There was Tyson Fury's KO win over Dillian Whyte, the heavyweight battle between Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua in Saudi, and Ebanie Bridges seeing off bitter rival Shannon O'Connell. Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano also became the first females in history to headline an event at Madison Square Garden.
But as is so often the case with the 'sport of Kings', controversy was never far away. And for all the action to engross fans, here are five farcical sagas that left boxing lovers feeling let down.
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Fury and Joshua fumble over talks
Anthony Joshua's defeat to Oleksandr Usyk was supposed to render the British heavyweight out of the title picture for the foreseeable future. But in September, an apparent lifeline was thrown by Tyson Fury, offering his rival a December bout.
'AJ' seemingly accepted, and from nowhere, fans were salivating at the prospect of the two giants finally going toe-to-toe. But with many having already booked hotels and houses around Cardiff, negotiations died a slow death with both sides left blaming the other.
Fury's camp claimed that AJ and co delayed signing contracts and essentially ducked the opportunity. Matchroom supremo Hearn blamed 'The Gypsy King' for his contradictory statements and unrealistic deadlines. The truth, in reality, probably lies somewhere in-between, with fans left wondering if they will now ever get the mouth-watering showdown they crave.
Catterall robbed as Taylor keeps titles
When the final bell sounded in the Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall light-welterweight world title clash in February, fans and pundits crowned a new champion there and then.
Underdog Catterall had appeared to dominate 'The Tartan Tornado' in his own back years, and a unanimous decision was surely impending.
But in a verdict since panned by the boxing community, it was Taylor awarded a split decision. Amid the apparent misjustice, promoter Ben Shalom called for an immediate inquest while Catterall himself tweeted: "What a load of s***!"
In truth, it was hard to argue with either. The two fighters have since feuded verbally and will go at it again in March 2023 in a rematch that few can dispute 'El Gato' deserves.
Benn v Eubank Jnr botched by failed drugs test
It was supposed to be the epic continuation of a 30-year family feud. Following in their footsteps of their famous fathers, second generation stars Conor Benn and Chris Eubank Jnr were all set to tear into each other at The O2 on October 8.
What was boxing's biggest controversy of 2022? Let us know in the comments section.
The clash however, was already clouded in controversy due to the catchweight agreement and rehydration clause which had Eubank Jnr's father calling for the fight to be scrapped. He needn't have worried, a failed drugs test from Benn then put paid to things anyway.
The details that followed shamed the sport. It emerged Benn's camp were aware of the irregular finding, and even then tried to press ahead with the event. A subsequent second failed test has now left him fighting to regain both his boxing licence and reputation.
Dillian in denial after Fury loss
There was no shortage of scepticism surrounding the world title fight between Dillian Whyte and Tyson Fury in April. On paper, 'The Body Snatcher' deserved a long awaited title shot. But the prospect of him troubling Fury appeared a distant one.
And so it proved, with the champion dominating for six rounds before finishing things off with a savage uppercut. It prompted a bizarre claim from Whyte days later, claiming the KO blow was an illegal shove: "This isn't wrestling, this is boxing, but as usual, they let Fury do what he wants and get away with it," he said.
Fair to say, no one bought it. The statement was almost as laughable as Fury's insistence afterwards that he was now officially retired.
John Fury gets shirty with Jake Paul
The debate over the growing influence of YouTubers in boxing continues to rage. But if the scenes that plagued KSI's event in Dubai in November had taken place on Coronation Street, viewers would have turned the TV off for bad acting.
Floyd Mayweather and Deji headlined the night, but it was Tommy Fury's exhibition bout with Rolly Lambert that kicked off the controversy. A bout that actually only took place because Fury missed weight for his scheduled clash with Paul Bamba.
Throughout the bore-fest, bitter rival Jake Paul was goading Fury from ringside. The two went at it verbally afterwards, before John Fury got involved, ripping off his shirt and stomping around the ring like a budget Hulk Hogan. And to think, people at the Coca Cola Arena actually paid to see it.
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- Tyson Fury
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