After a memorable last few months of boxing in 2021, Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing will look to continue that momentum heading into 2022.
The promoter on Friday announced multiple fight nights in the U.K. and U.S. featuring some of the biggest names in boxing.
“We ended 2021 with a bang and I can’t wait to get started in 2022. It’s going to be such an exciting year for Matchroom and DAZN with massive events all over the world, and I’m delighted with the early schedule we’ve put together – unifications, world title action and career-defining nights; there’s so much drama packed into these nights, and we’ve got plenty more to add soon,” Hearn said in a release.
Starting on February 5, Jessie Vargas will face off against Liam Smith. The WBC super flyweight title will also be on the line as Srisaket Sor Rungvisai faces off against Carlos Cuadras. This fight card will take place at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
Vargas, a former WBO welterweight champion, won the title in 2016. After losing the title against Manny Pacquiao, Vargas has gone 2-1-2 in his last five fights. He last fought in February 2020, losing to Mikey Garcia. Smith is a former WBO light middleweight champion who lost the title against Canelo Alvarez in 2016. He has gone 7-2 since then, last fighting and beating Anthony Fowler via TKO in October.
On February 12 from inside the Alexandra Palace in London, Daniel Jacobs will face off against John Ryder. Jacobs, a former WBA and IBF middleweight champion, last fought in November 2020. On a two-fight win streak, he last beat Gabriel Rosado via split decision. Ryder, a former title contender, has also won two in a row.
Lawrence Okolie and Michal Cieslak will square off in London on February 27. Okolie, 29, has been a British, European, and Commonwealth cruiserweight champion. He won the WBO cruiserweight title against Krzysztof Glowacki and beat Dilan Prasovic in September to defend it. Cieslak is on a two-fight win streak, having beaten Yury Kashinsky back in May via TKO. He fought for the WBC cruiserweight title in January 2020, losing to Ilunga Makabu.
One of the biggest matchups of 2022 is set to take place on March 5 as Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez will compete in a trilogy fight in San Diego. Gonzalez faced off against Estrada in 2012, beating him via unanimous decision to retain the WBA light flyweight title. They met again this past March, with Estrada prevailing in a Fight of the Year contender to many for the WBA, WBC, and The Ring super flyweight titles. The fight will be inside the Pechanga Arena San Diego.
A clash will take place around St. Patrick’s Day, as Michael Conlan fights Leigh Wood for the latter’s WBA featherweight championship on March 12. Conlan, the interim WBA featherweight champion, last fought in August, beating T.J. Doheny via unanimous decision. Wood beat Xu Can in July to become WBA champion. The fight will take place at the Motorpoint Arena Nottingham in the United Kingdom.
Finally, Kiko Martinez will defend the IBF featherweight title in a rematch against Josh Warrington at the First Direct Arena in Leeds on March 26. Martinez, who beat Kid Galahad for the title in November, lost to Warrington in May 2017 via majority decision.