What a year 2020 has been so far. Combat sports certainly have seen some thrilling events this year and unfortunately, many others have been cancelled or rebooked due to scheduling and travel issues. With the year coming to a close, we have many promising events to look forward to in 2021. A lot of big names are coming back with a bang and promising to put on some memorable performances. Let’s take a look at the fighters we can expect to have a very promising year in 2021.
It seems like every year becomes the biggest year in Canelo’s career, and next year promises to be the beginning of a new chapter. The pound-for-pound best boxer in the world has successfully been released from his contract with DAZN and Golden Boy Promotions, making him a free agent for the first time since 2010. Now with his future completely open, we can expect Canelo to make some big moves in 2021.
All boxing fans respect Canelo and the build up to his fights are sensational. He commonly draws huge pay-per-view numbers, the analysts love discussing him, and he is a unanimous favorite in the betting world where online platforms offer free bets in the lead up to his dynamic fights. Fans have been clamoring to see the trilogy fight between Canelo and Gennady Golovkin and it’s likely that this will take place next year.
One name we never thought we would be saying again is Mike Tyson. After his announcement that he was returning to the world of boxing, we didn’t know what to expect. What kind of shape would this 54 year old former champion be in? Would he be able to fight an entire regulation bout? Well, after a long wait we finally got our answers this past weekend.
Mike Tyson faced off against the equally respected Roy Jones Jr. in Los Angeles recently and the fight was an entertaining and record breaking event. In the lead up, Tyson looked to be in spectacular shape for his age in both his physique, footwork, and technique. The bout itself was what we expected. It was competitive, but not overly sensational with a lot of clinching from Jones Jr. as he tried to stop the haymakers that Tyson was throwing. Though most spectators agree that Tyson won, the fight was ruled a draw. The question is, Tyson has said that he is returning for 4 more fights. Where does the former champion go from here and who can we expect to see him in the ring with next? Keep your eye on Tyson in the future as there may be some even bigger fights on the horizon.
The self proclaimed “Gypsy King” has taken the boxing world by storm in the past few years and is looking to do some even bigger events in 2021. Fury has been one of the most exciting figures in boxing and it seems like the best may still be ahead for him. The sensational heavyweight boxer has a few big fights to choose from and they all promise to be spectacular events.
After two very competitive bouts with rival heavyweight Deontay Wilder, Fury may be up to face him yet again after Wilder activated a rematch clause in their contract. There has been some back and forth between the two parties, so although it is likely we will have the trilogy fight, the date is uncertain as of now. Fans however are likely more excited by the prospect of Fury versus Anthony Joshua, a fight that is certainly going to be another record breaking event. English boxing fans are already calling this matchup the “biggest fight in British boxing history.” Fury may even decide to take a tuneup fight against another high ranked opponent while he is waiting for these other two matchups to pan out. Make no mistake, 2021 is shaping up to be the biggest year in Fury’s career.
Crawford currently sits with a perfect 37-0 record, with 28 of those wins coming by way of knockout. His achievements as a three-weight champion make him one of the best boxers on the planet. Crawford is now in the welterweight division, which is flush with top-tier talent like Shawn Porter, Manny Pacquiao, and Keith Thurman. This gives him many different options to consider for big events in the near future. However, it is the possibility of a fight with rival Errol Spence Jr. that is the most interesting. Two undefeated boxers who both claim to be the pound-for-pound best in the world makes a matchup that cannot be missed.
Teofimo Lopez has become an overnight sensation in the world of boxing after beating one of the greats of the sport, Vasyl Lomachenko, this past October. The young, fearless boxer has a record of 16 wins and no losses, and has leapt over the competition to be in the list of the top 10 boxers in the world with this stunning upset. Even the legendary Mike Tyson took to Twitter to call Lopez the man to beat in the sport. With all the hype behind him, there are numerous high-profile fights he could accept in 2021 and he has expressed his desire to move up to the 140lbs division and conquer that division like he has at 135lbs.
Usyk has been a dark horse in the heavyweight boxing world for sometime. This Ukranian gold medalist has nerves of steel and has faced rivals in foreign countries. Now he stands tall with a perfect 18-0 record. The path to the top has been a long and treacherous route for Usyk and despite winning major titles around the world, some still doubt his abilities. However, well-respected former heavyweight champion and fellow Ukranian Wladimir Klitschko has said many good things about Usyk’s technical skills and feels that he will be considered one of the greatest boxers in the sport soon. With a win over Derek Chisora, Usyk is now looking at bigger competition. He has rival heavyweight Anthony Joshua in his sights, and analysts suggest that a win here would finally bring Usyk the respect he deserves. Of course, Joshua has to first win his December 12th fight over Kubrat Pulev next, and then decide if he wants to commit to a massive fight with Tyson Fury.