With the midway point of 2021 having just past and any and all boxing pundits, bloggers and Youtubers have made their lists of awards so here I go. Boxing has begun to pick up in 2021 as big fights are materializing and crowds return. There is a good second half lined up for the rest of this year but here is a look at everything so far.
Fighter of the Year
Josh Taylor is my pick for fighter of the year for 2021 so far. He scored the biggest victory of his career over Jose Ramirez to become the full champion at 140 lbs. In my opinion this is the biggest victory in boxing to this point and he is the winner of the biggest fight. His performance in that victory was also tremendous as he scored two solid knockdowns and won the fight clearly. Recent buzz hints at a possible Terrence Crawford fight at welterweight but if he stays he has fights with Gervonta Davis, Teofimo Lopez and a rematch with Regis Prograis. Those are all great fights that would solidify his status. Runner up: Saul Alvarez, he is the only elite fighter with two fights this year and has three fights since December of 2020 and will fight once or possibly twice more this year. He will likely be the 2021 fighter of the year when it is all settled given his activity and the likelihood that he will unify 168 lbs. and potentially square off with Artur Beterbiev at light heavyweight.
Fight of the Year
Brandon Glanton advanced to 14-0 11 KO’s when he stopped Efetobor Apochi’s 11-0 11 KO run with a close decision victory in a back and forth war. Apochi had a big 2020 with multiple knockouts but he has been largely untested as a professional so far. Glanton got off to a strong start as he penetrated Apochi’s defense repeatedly and was able to rock him during the fight. Glanton had Apochi on the verge but Efetobor was saved by the bell after succumbing to a technical knockdown as the ropes held him up. Both men were rocked and landed bombs throughout the fight as the two showed the effects of the war they waged in the ring. Runner up: Juan Francisco Estrada vs Roman Gonzalez II was a long overdue rematch that was a closely contested and controversial 12 round decision. Estrada got his hand raised but many felt he was defeated by the streaking Gonzalez whose career was ruled dead several years ago with back to back losses to Sor Rungvisai. Fortunately, the third fight will be done this year!
Upset of the Year
Mauricio Lara scored the biggest upset of the year when he knocked out former IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington. Warrington entered 30-0 against the relatively unknown Lara who came to fight. Warrington traded with the hard punching Mexican fighter and hit the canvas in the fourth round. Warrington was taking a beating but hung in there before being leveled by repeated blows while he was stunned. This was a brutal knockout and a total shocker as Warrington relinquished his title to avoid a mandatory challenge and looked to face Chinese title holder Xu Can. Warrington is looking to avenge this loss during the fall, lets see if he can come back. Runner up: Andrey Fedosov first round KO over Mahammadrasul Majidov when he was injured from a fall following a right hand down the middle. Fedosov is a moderately successful heavyweight who had not fought in over two years going up against a hyped prospect in Majidov.
KO of the Year
I will retread ground with Lara over Warrington, it was brutal. Runner up:
What to look forward to:
Charlo vs Castano for total unification at 154 lbs.
Pacquiao vs Spence
Wilder vs Fury III
Warrington vs Lara II
Lopez vs Kambosos