The big BOXEN1 annual review 2021: Historic battles despite Corona!


As in the previous year, the corona virus ensured that many boxers were only very rarely able to use their fists. However, the boxing year 2021 has some absolute blasts to offer that will probably be remembered for the next few decades! BOXEN1 takes another look back at the most important highlights.

“The King of the Heavyweight”: Tyson Fury makes himself immortal – KO victory over Deontay Wilder!

Photo: Frank Micelotta / Fox Sports

The fact that Tyson Fury polarizes should not only be known to boxing fans. But what the 33-year-old Briton managed to do on the night of October 9th in the T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas borders on fairytale heroism! Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder have already faced each other twice in the ring. There was a draw in 2018 – in 2020, Fury won round seven through TKO. In the third battle, all open questions should ultimately be answered.

Photo: Frank Micelotta / Fox Sports

WBC world champion Tyson Fury, for whom it was the first defense of the title, met in the first round against an extremely explosive Deontay Wilder, who wanted to get that world championship belt back. However, Fury sent the “Bronze Bomber” onto the boards in the third round. A similar course as in the second duel seemed to be emerging. But nothing there! The 35-year-old Wilder made an impressive return and knocked the champion down twice in lap four.

Tyson Fury seized the action again a short time later – and never gave up the reins. A visibly exhausted Deontay Wilder was only able to stand on his feet with great difficulty. In the tenth round, Wilder again had to get into the ring dust before Fury scored a picture-perfect knockout with a cracking right.

With that success, the heavyweight champion not only kept his WBC belt, but also made a memorable exclamation mark. After a cinematic fight, boxing legend George Foreman even ennobled the duel as “one of the greatest fights in heavyweight history”!

Next big hit in the premier class: Usyk dethrones Joshua!

Photo: Ian Walton Matchroom Boxing

In the spring of 2021, it looked as if nothing would stand in the way of the super fight between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua. The duel for all four big world championship belts in the heavyweight division seemed to be almost in sackcloth. However, since Deontay Wilder insisted on that third fight against Fury, Anthony Joshua had to look around for a new opponent. The choice fell on Oleksandr Usyk! On September 25th, it finally came to a duel in London.

Photo: Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing

But for the British defending champion, Anthony Joshua, it should pay a lot of money in the end: The 31-year-old Joshua found his master in the three-year-old Oleksandr Usyk! South African Uysk, who was the undisputed ruler of all major world championship titles already in the cruiserweight division, boxed the champion out with every trick in the book.

Photo: Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing

With the greater sophistication and the simply better boxing means, the Ukrainian ex-Olympic champion secured most of the twelve rounds. In the end there was a clear win on points in favor of Oleksandr Usyk, who can reign as the new IBF / WBO / WBA / IBO heavyweight champion. Now the (contractually agreed) rematch could take place next year.

After the ring battle: Kambosos overturns Lopez from the World Cup throne!

Even in the “lighter” weight classes, there was one or two boxing delicacies to marvel at. A very entertaining battle fought George Kambosos Jr. and Teofimo Lopez. The two lightweights, who were unbeaten until then, provided great Saturday evening entertainment on November 27th in New York’s Madison Square Garden!

Actually, defending champion Teofimo Lopez wanted to present himself to his fans for the first time as IBF / WBA / WBO world champion with an appealing performance. The 24-year-old Lopez shocked the boxing world in October 2020 when he snatched the championship belt away from Vasyl Lomachenko (with a points win).

Against his Australian challenger, George Kambosos Jr., Teofimo Lopez was considered a favorite in advance. But the sensation was already looming in the first round: The 28-year-old Kambosos sent the champion onto the boards with a cracking right hand! In the further course of the challenger’s better boxing strategy became more and more clear.

Teofimo Lopez also sent the Australian to the ground in the tenth round, but Kambosos’ point advantage was already too big. After twelve rounds, the jury decided (with a split decision) in favor of George Kambosos Jr., who has since been celebrated as the new lightweight champion.

Manny Pacquiao – The End of a Legend!

Bitter defeat: Manny Pacquiao (right) loses his last fight against Yordenis Ugas (left).

Manny Pacquiao has had the venerable legend status for several years. But the 42-year-old Filipino wanted to make another sporting statement in the summer, although the “Pacman” actually no longer needed it. After it did not come to the planned battle with welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr., Pacquiao climbed into the ring in the fight for the WBA World Cup against the Cuban Yordenis Ugas.

The 35-year-old Ugas made a convincing performance and left no doubt about his unanimous victory on points. Manny Pacquiao could no longer build on earlier heydays – a bitter realization that Pacquiao in particular was confronted with. A good month later, the official retirement from active boxing followed. The exceptional athlete said goodbye to his worldwide fans with the words “Goodbye, Boxing”.

Manny Pacquiao can look back on a brilliant boxing career!

Manny Pacquiao leaves a legacy unprecedented! Manny Pacquiao made his professional debut in January 1995. He won his first world title in December 1998 when he was crowned WBC flyweight world champion. In the years that followed, the southpaw secured championship belts in a total of eight different weight classes. Pacquiao celebrated significant victories over well-known opponents such as Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Shane Mosley and Keith Thurman. Of his 72 professional fights, he won 62 (39 Ko’s), with 8 defeats and 2 draws.

Bösel vs. Krasniqi II: Great tension in Magdeburg – many questions about judgment!

Photo: Torsten Helmke

On October 9th, the German boxing fans looked to Magdeburg with great anticipation, where defending champion Robin Krasniqi and ex-champion Dominic Bösel faced each other for a second time in the GETEC arena. Almost exactly a year earlier, Krasniqi had a remarkable knockout win in the third round at the same point.

That knockout ensured that the now 34-year-old Krasniqi was able to secure the IBO belt and the WBA interim title. In the rematch, Dominic Bösel, who was two years his junior, started the race with new coach Georg Bramowski. In fact, the Freyburger presented himself much more focused than in the first battle.

Photo: Torsten Helmke

The fans followed the rematch – as they did a year before – live on ARD. With a closed cover, Dominic Bösel, who was always on the march in the further course, survived many critical phases. Nevertheless, to many observers it appeared that the greater activity and the number of blows were on the part of Krasniqi.

Who was ultimately able to record the clearer hits – many experts disagreed on that! In the end there was a close 2-1 point win in favor of Dominic Bösel, who has since been able to call the IBO belt his own again.

After the SES fight evening, there were heated discussions regarding the judges’ decisions. “I have not lost and I feel that I have been treated unfairly!” Said a deeply disappointed Robin Krasniqi, whose team tried to take action against that judgment in the weeks that followed. For the new year one can only hope that a third meeting – especially from a sporting point of view – will bring the chapter “Bösel vs. Krasniqi” to an honorable close!

Yours earns respect for Beterbiev – Kölling reports back with a victory over Harth!

Photo: Top Rank

On March 20th, SES light heavyweight Adam Deines reached for the stars! The 30-year-old stood in Moscow against the knockout machine and IBF / WBC world champion Artur Beterbiev in the ring. As a blatant underdog, the protégé of trainer Dirk Dzemski flew to the Russian capital. Contrary to some expert predictions, yours delivered a respectable performance against the hard-hitting defending champion. Unfortunately Adam Deines finally had to admit defeat on lap ten, after a Beterbiev head hook brought him down and Coach Dzemski correctly pulled the emergency brake. Nevertheless, the SES boxer earned recognition from the specialist audience for his performance.

Photo: Torsten Helmke

After Enrico Kölling was left behind in important title fights, the 31-year-old Berliner made a convincing comeback on November 12th in Bielefeld! Against the two years older Leon Harth, who climbed into the ring as WBO European cruiserweight champion, Kölling presented himself with a strong performance. After ten rounds there was a “majority decision” in favor of Enrico Kölling, who can now hope for more title chances next year.

BOXEN1 wishes all readers and boxing fans a happy new year and a healthy, successful year 2022!

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