The Biggest Upcoming Boxing Matches in 2021
This year has been a memorable one for boxing, as some of the biggest stars have been in action. Manny Pacquiao announced his retirement from the sport after a defeat against Yordenis Ugas, while the heavyweight division has a standout star following Tyson Fury’s dominant win against Deontay Wilder. But, which fights have we still got to look forward to before the end of the year?
- Pacquiao (Lost) vs Ugas (Won)
- Paul (Won) vs Woodley (Lost)
- Holyfield (Lost) vs Belfort (Won)
- Joshua (Lost) vs Usyk (Won)
- Tyson Fury (Won) vs Wilder (Lost) 3
- Alvarez (Won) vs Plant (Lost)
- Crawford (Won) vs Porter (Lost)
- Lopez (Lost) vs Kambosos Jr (Won)
- Fulton (Won) vs Figueroa (Lost)
- Parker vs Chisora
- Tommy Fury vs Paul
Aug 21: Manny Pacquiao (Lost) vs. Yordenis Ugas (Won)
Update (Aug 21, 2021):
Manny Pacquiao returned to the ring in late August, as the WBA welterweight title was on the line against Yordenis Ugas. However, it was a shocking defeat for the Filipino superstar, as he was beaten by a unanimous decision by Ugas.
That appearance in the ring would be the last time that we would see Pac-Man, as he announced his retirement from the sport shortly afterward. Pacquiao will now focus on his career in politics in his native country. As for Ugas, a title fight against IBO and WBC champion Errol Spence Jr looks set to be on the agenda for 2022.
Aug 29: Jake Paul (Won) vs. Tyron Woodley (Lost)
Update (Aug 29, 2021):
Jake Paul passed the most serious test of his boxing career on August 29th, as he beat Tyron Woodley by split decision after eight rounds of action. The former UFC star certainly gave everything to the contest, and hit Paul with a number of hard shots that sent the YouTuber onto the ropes, which stopped him from hitting the canvas.
A rematch between the two is reportedly already in the works after Paul admitted that they could fight again if Woodley got ‘I Love Jake Paul’ tattooed on his body. However, Paul will instead be taking on Tommy Fury in December.
Sep 11: Evander Holyfield (Lost) vs Vitor Belfort (Won)
This year has been all about stunning returns to the ring. Mike Tyson made his in-ring return earlier in the year, and former heavyweight rival Evander Holyfield made his return on September 11th. The former undisputed cruiserweight champion and later world heavyweight champion stepped into the void to take on Vitor Belfort following Oscar De La Hoya’s withdrawal.
However, it wasn’t a happy return to the ring for Holyfield, as he was stunningly beaten by TKO in the first round of eight.
Sep 25: Anthony Joshua (Lost) vs. Oleksandr Usyk (Won)
Heavyweight title gold was on the line at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September, as Oleksandr Usyk made history by becoming the unified heavyweight champion. It was a stunning performance by the Ukrainian, as he rocked Joshua on numerous occasions, before taking the victory by decision after 12 rounds.
Joshua’s defeat has silenced rumors of a unification fight against Tyson Fury, and instead, his next fight will be his bid to win back the WBA (super), IBF, WBO and IBO titles in early 2022.
Oct 9: Tyson Fury (Won) vs Deontay Wilder (Lost) 3
Tyson Fury remained unbeaten in October, as he successfully defended his WBC and The Ring heavyweight titles with another dominant showing against Deontay Wilder. Fury was once again knocked to the canvas in the trilogy fight, but picked himself up to knockout Wilder in the eleventh round.
Rumors are already circulating that Fury’s next fight could already be close to agreement, as mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte may finally get his title opportunity in 2022.
Nov 6: Canelo Alvarez (Won) vs Caleb Plant (Lost)
Canelo Alvarez continued to show why he is considered by many as the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet in November, as he beat Caleb Plant. The victory ensured that he became the first boxer to be undisputed as super middleweight, as he won the IBF title. Canelo’s win came in the eleventh round of 12 in Las Vegas, as he floored Plant with just over minute of the round remaining.
Reports are already heating up as to who could face Canelo next. Both David Benavidez and Gennady Golovkin have been rumored to be potential fights for the legendary Mexican.
Nov 20: Terence Crawford vs Shawn Porter
For the first time in over 12 months, Terence Crawford returned to the ring to take on Shawn Porter in November. It was a highly anticipated fight, as Crawford was looking to finally silence doubters that questioned whether he could beat one of the most competitive fighters in the division. Crawford emphatically silenced anyone that doubted his ability in the ring, as his consistent changing between orthodox and southpaw stances ensured that Porter could never get a foothold in the contest.
Porter was sent crashing to the canvas in the tenth round, before his corner eventually threw in the towel later in the same round after the American was sent to the canvas once again. Crawford remains the WBO welterweight champion following this victory, and 2022 could be a massive year for the unbeaten 34-year-old.
Nov 27: Teofimo Lopez vs George Kambosos Jr
The WBA (Super), The Ring, WBO and IBF lightweight world titles were on the line on December 27th, as George Kambosos Jr produced one of the shocks of the year, as he outboxed Teofimo Lopez in New York City. The fight was delayed on a number of occasions, as it was originally set to take place in June. The Australian eventually claimed victory in the fight by split decision, as one judge ruled the contest 114-113 in Lopez’s favor.
However, the other two judges gave Kambosos the victory by 115-112 and 115-111 margins. It is a very interesting landscape in the lightweight division now as we head into 2022. Kambosos could be set for a rematch against Lopez, while Vasyl Lomachenko and Ryan Garcia are both also reportedly interested in a bout against the reigning champion.
Nov 27: Stephen Fulton vs Brandon Figueroa
Stephen Fulton remains the WBC and WBO super bantamweight champion after seeing off the challenge of Brendon Figueroa in Nevada. It was another dominant display by the reigning WBO champion, as he picked up a majority decision victory against the former WBC super bantamweight champion. Fulton was dominant throughout the contest, and won all 12 rounds on the judges’ scorecards.
One judge ruled the fight 114-114, while the remaining two both gave the fight to Fulton with identical scorecards of 116-112. A fight against WBA and IBF title holder Murodjon Akhmadaliev could be on the cards for Fulton in 2022.
Dec 18: Joseph Parker (Won) vs Dereck Chisora (Lost)
There was a heavyweight Christmas showdown in Manchester, England on December 18th, as Dereck Chisora looked to gain revenge on Joseph Parker. The New Zealand heavyweight defeated Chisora by split decision when the two first met in Manchester, as the Brit fell to a record of 32-11.
However, there would be no revenge for Chisora in the rematch, as Parker once again come out victorious. In a pulsating heavyweight showdown at the AO Arena, both fighters looked to land the KO blow, but Chisora always looked to be on the backfoot, as Parker dictated proceedings throughout. The Kiwi eventually regained his WBO intercontinental heavyweight title by unanimous decision.
Dec 18: Jake Paul (Won) vs Tyron Woodley (Lost)
A score was set to be settled in Florida on December 18th, as Tommy Fury and Jake Paul finally looked set to meet in the middle of the ring. The two have been trading insults over the past couple of months, and the fight was officially announced at the end of October. However, Fury pulled out just two weeks before the Florida date due to illness and injury, and the Brit was swiftly replaced by Tyron Woodley.
It was the second time that Paul had clashed with the former UFC star, with the YouTuber coming out on top in the first meeting by split decision. However, there was nothing contentious about the rematch, as Paul was the commanding winner after striking a stunning blow to floor Woodley in the sixth round. Markets are now open when it comes to the fighter that Paul will come up against next in 2022.