Barry McGuigan’s year in boxing review and best fights to come in 2021
What a year that was. The whole world has been impacted by the pandemic, businesses destroyed and jobs lost.
For its part, boxing has responded impressively and played an important role in keeping spirits high.
We could not have known, when Tyson Fury destroyed Deontay Wilder in February, what was to come. That performance earned Fury a share of the Ring magazine award for fighter of the year.
The other recipient, lightweight Teofimo Lopez, was the standout performer of boxing’s post-lockdown recovery.
I did not have Vasyl Lomachenko winning a round until the eighth. His reaction, carping about the result, was unbecoming of a champion.
On the domestic front, Lyndon Arthur’s victory against Anthony Yarde matched Lopez for shock value.
Yarde moaned like Loma, but was well beaten by a disciplined light-heavyweight who relied largely on his jab.
It is now for Yarde to rebuild and come again.
The same applies to Daniel Dubois, who lost his great domestic heavyweight duel to Joe Joyce in a similar manner.
There is no quit in Dubois. The injuries he sustained to his eye socket were career-threatening. Fingers crossed, he’s back firing in 2021.
Errol Spence proved there is a way back after serious injury. The way he dominated a rugged Danny Garcia, after his horrific car crash, should inspire Dubois.
I tip my hat to Saul Alvarez, who proved against Callum Smith last week that he might be getting even better.
There is talk of a third bout with Gennady Golovkin, who flattered to deceive against Kamil Szeremeta the night before Canelo’s masterclass.
If Canelo is to drop down to middleweight, I would prefer to see him against WBC champion Jermall Charlo than a 38-year-old superhero on the slide. If Canelo stays at 168lb, Billy Joe Saunders has his hand up, and, at light heavy, Artur Beterbiev would be a fantastic challenge.
The fight we are all looking forward to next year is Anthony Joshua versus Fury.
Firstly, I want to commend Joshua for his six-figure donation to amateur boxing federations in England, Scotland and Wales.
The government was remiss in excluding amateur boxing from its £300million Covid bailout. This sport gets into underprivileged areas, giving problem kids an opportunity to shine.
Which fight are you most looking forward to next year? Have your say below.
In the ring, Joshua’s performance against Kubrat Pulev won rave reviews, but I was disappointed he did not get him out in the third.
Maybe he was mindful of what happened against Andy Ruiz, when he was chopped down in the same round.
I thought Joshua was nervous and apprehensive for the next couple of rounds before poleaxing Pulev in the ninth.
I’m guessing Fury will be encouraged by what he saw. More of that next year.