2021 ended up being a huge year for boxing! After a slow start and lack of big fights happening, it was looking like we were in for another uneventful year. But after 2020, many of the top fighters are realising just how short your boxing career is and how inactivity can damage your performances.
One of the more positive things that has really starting to happen more often in Boxing is the chase to become the undisputed champion! In other words – have all 4 major belts from the world sanctioning bodies. This is a refreshing thing for me to see, as we saw three do that in this year alone. (if you count Kambosos Jr)
This is helping boxing get it’s mojo back in my opinion. However the multiple promoters and TV networks are still making this a difficult thing to achieve, despite us seeing this happening.
The other thing I loved about this year, was some of the huge upsets and moments we saw take place. Not going to lie, there is nothing better than an underdog win in most cases!
I’ve compiled a list of my top 10 boxing moments in 2021 to reminiscence about and my very own ‘Boxing Life Awards’ for you to check out as a video on my YouTube page at bottom of this article.
Top 10 Moments in 2021
1. Ryan Garcia starts the year with a bang!
The year started with the big step up fight for Ryan Garcia as he faced Gold Olympic Medalist and world title challenger Luke Campbell. Fans had been calling out for ‘Kingry’ to finally take a step up and this was big test. Considering Campbell had been in the ring with Linares and Lomachenko, going 12 rounds in each.
The fight was extremely entertaining as we saw a come forward aggressive Garcia, who trains with Canelo And Reyenoso. However, a huge shock happened as Luck Campbell caught the American with an unexpected shot sending him to the canvas. Garcia bounced back from his first real adversity in a professional fight.
However he managed to bounce back by ending the fight with a beautiful body shot which stopped Campbell in the 7th. The rest of the year, wasn’t the best for Garcia as he suffered a hand injury and had to postpone a fight due to mental health problems. Hopefully we can see him back in 2022 more regularly.
2. Canelo Defeats Saunders in God’s Country
After defeating Yildrim in mandatory defence in January, Canelo then had the opportunity to set up a fight Billy Joe Saunders for a unification fight for his WBO super middleweight belt in May.
The fight took place at The A&T stadium in Texas and was very much a fight that had fans speculating what could happen. I personally thought Billy Joe Saunders slickness and southpaw stance would cause Canelo huge problems. Especially as the Mexican struggled against likes of Mayweather and Lara who fight in similar style.
However, the Mexican put on a show for the huge crowd in attendance, with his intense pressure and body attacks. Eventually he got Saunders with massive uppercut that would break his orbital bone, resulting in his corner calling off the fight.
3. Taylor becomes first from UK to Become 4 belt Undisputed champion
It was very underplayed in the United Kingdom, with no major broadcaster wishing to show the fight which was very disappointing! Especially as it was on my birthday and my own countryman was fighting to become undisputed!
But regardless of that, it was available on FITE in the UK, but VPN’s are the way to watch fights going forward! (I recommend using Express VPN)
The fight itself was very entertaining as Josh Taylor faced Ramirez who is a powerful pressure fighter, training out of the Robert Garcia Boxing academy and held two of the belts at super lightweight.
The Scot however proved why he was best at 140lbs, as he knocked down Ramirez twice in the fight, with two very suspect and long counts from the ref.
This is once in a lifetime achievement and was fantastic birthday present to see the first undisputed champion in the four belt ear from Scotland in the UK.
4. Manny Pacquiao finally bows out
Pacquiao’s last fight was meant to be against Errol Spence Jr, which I’m still disappointed that we didn’t get to see. However, the world title challenger from Cuba, Ugas, stepped up to the plate to challenge the legendary fighter for the WBA welterweight belt.
After Manny’s last impressive display against Keith Thurman, the Filipino was now 42 years old with many thinking he could still challenge for the top. (Including myself!)
It ended up being a lack luster display, as Manny simply could not get going. Where Ugas, was able to control the fight with his size and reach advantage.
This would end up being PacMan’s last fight and I’m truly grateful and inspired for all he has done for the sport of boxing. You check out my tribute breakdown analysis video below:
5. Amateur stars dazzle at Olympics
Amateur boxing is the best way to see the next great stars of tomorrow. I only tend to really watch the Olympic or world championships, but it’s a fantastic way to see the upcoming boxing stars of tomorrow.
It was the Cuban’s that came out on top with 4 golds and 1 bronze. This included the two Cuban amateur boxing stars Andy Cruz and Julio Cesar Cruz, who are joy to watch if you haven’t done so already.
Team GB also had much success coming second on the medal chart with two of each for gold, silver and bronze – the most successful UK boxing team since the 1920.
You can check out who I tipped to have success at the Tokyo 2020 here. (I did get some of the right aha!)
6. Usyk becomes heavyweight champ in the lions Den
Now this was a fight I actually attended back in September. I felt this was a once in a lifetime chance in seeing a Anthony Joshua stadium fight and also to watch p4p star Oleksandr Usyk. This was the Ukrainian’s chance to become 2 weight world champion after dominating the Crusierweight division.
Being from the UK, it was very much an Joshua pro crowd at the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium. However, the Ukrainian was quick to shut down the crowd, by using his superb boxing skills against the much bigger Joshua.
It ended up going his way in a convincing and deserved unanimous decision. The atmosphere may of been better on the night if Joshua won, but being able to witness Usyk was a delight. You can watch my vlog journey down to London below.
7. Fury vs Wilder complete the Trilogy
The talks for Fury vs Joshua were ended, after Wilder won his court case for the trilogy fight to go ahead. Most boxing fans were extremely disappointed as we wouldn’t get to see the undisputed fight between the two British heavyweights.
The hype was not really there at all for Fury vs Wilder 3, as most believed this would be a one way fight again with Fury dominating. However, how wrong were most. Instead we arguably got one of the best endings to a trilogy in boxing that was nothing but drama.
Wilder had a new trainer in his corner in Malik Scott, and in the opening rounds looked like he had improved a lot! (check out my Wilder improvements video here) However, Fury’s size was still an issue as he knocked down Wilder first. But just as we thought he was about to end the same way as the second fight, Wilder came back in the next round putting down Fury twice!
Somehow Tyson Fury got up and continue to beat up Wilder from the rest of the fight before finishing him off in devastating fashion! This will go down as a true boxing classic in the years to come!
8. Crawford Proves He’s A Top Welterweight
Many have claimed Terence Crawford was not up to the script of being one of the top welterweight, mainly due to level of opponents since winning his title vs Jeff Horn.
However, this was the year he would get his chance against top welterweight and former world champion Shawn Porter. He had pretty much faced everyone you can think of in this era of welterweights.
This was a very technical fight which saw Crawford put a very calculated performance against a very tough and talented opponent. The fight ended off with Crawford knocking down Porter twice, before his corner threw in the towel.
Let’s hope Crawford can now set up the big fight with Errol Spence Jr in 2022 for undisputed fight.
9. Kambosos Jr – Underdog Shocks The World!
Teofimo Lopez was the king of the lightweight division after pulling off an incredible win over the number 1 rated p4p star at the time Vasyl Lomachenko in 2020. Where he gathered up all the belts to become undisputed champion (or unified depending how some people look at it). However the issue with having all the belts is that a mandatory can get in the way of who you can fight next. In the case or Lopez, this was the fairly unknown Australian, George Kambosos Jr.
Due to the many delays due to YOU KNOW WHAT and the broadcaster disputes. DAZN and Matchroom finally decided to take a chance to put on the fight.
It felt like an eternity for Lopez to finally get back in the ring and with much back talk between the two fighters, everyone wanted this fight to be over and done with.
The fight instead ended up being one of the best fights of the year, with Kambosos Jr knocking down Lopez in the first round. The Australian for the most part was by far the better fighter all night, with Lopez corner looking completely lost! Kambosos was even knocked down in the 10th but still managed to bounce back with his best round in the 11th before finishing the fight convincingly in the 12th.
The Aussie earned split decision victory in what was an underdog fight I will never forget.
10. Canelo becomes Undisputed after defeating Plant
Finally, we saw Canelo take on Caleb Plant for a fight to become undisputed super middleweight champion. Caleb Plant was a massive underdog going into fight much like Saunders. But due to Alvarez’s destruction of Saunders, who also had a similar slick moving style, no one really saw past nothing but a Canelo win.
The fight itself was extremely entertaining as we saw the Mexican go on the hunt with his intelligent pressure style. Plant very much boxes on the back foot and found success in the opening rounds, moving and using his long reach to frustrate the Mexican.
However, Alvarez is relentless and continued to attack the body of Plant. Before catching him a superb leaping hook and uppercut. From here he got him down once again, before the ref waved it off as Plant got to his feet.
It was an iconic moment for Alvarez, as he became the first Mexican to become undisputed, as he continues to make history!
Boxing Life Awards
You can watch my Boxing Life Awards on YouTube below to find out who I think deserves the following:
- Men’s Fighter of the year
- Women’s Fighter of the Year
- Fight of the year
- Upset of the year
- KO of the year
- Prospect of the year
- Trainer of the year