2021 Upset Of The Year: George Kambosos Jnr.
George Kambosos Jnr. was disrespected by fans, media and just the world at large heading into his bout with Teofimo Lopez as Kambosos Jnr was the #1 contender per the IBF lightweight rankings, but Lopez coming off a win over the all-time great Vasyl Lomachenko looked to be poised for bigger fights after Kambosos Jnr.
The bout was a comedy of errors, being rescheduled multiple times, as Lopez’s promoter, Top Rank lost the purse bid. A new player in boxing – Triller emerged, only to reschedule the bout multiple times, spending thousands if not millions of dollars in the process only for Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing to get the fight, Thanksgiving week in America.
The bout that was a grudge match, and continued as such into the fight, had an exhausting feeling from a fan perspective as it just was filled with too many starts and stops. In the end, Kambosos Jnr was not simply there to get paid, as he came to win, and gave us an iconic moment in boxing history, and one of the greatest moments in Australian boxing when he knocked down Teofimo Lopez in the first round.
Kambosos Jnr would engage in one of the best bouts of the year, that had drama in-and-outside of the ring, that felt like we watched the hero’s journey completed as Kambosos Jnr got a narrow decision win over a historic lightweight in Teofimo Lopez.
Kambosos Jnr went from a guy media outlets were misspelling his name, to someone who saw his name including in titles to get more traffic to websites and embedded videos. Kambosos with the win became the second best Australian fighter behind the great Kosta Tszyu, and now holds all the leverage in the lightweight division which is ripe of good match-ups with fighters like Gervonta Davis, Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia, and many more on the horizon.
Kambosos Jnr was viewed as a tune-up fight, and now he is one of the biggest draws in the sport, as when he returns to Australia in his next bout, he will have a huge live gate, barring COVID-19 restrictions. What a story.
Usyk – Usyk did Usyk things by beating Anthony Joshua in Joshua’s hometown. Usyk won every belt in the cruiserweight tournament on the road as well, the only probably being no one watches cruiserweight boxing because it is no man’s land, and Usyk is one of the rare treats of the division. Usyk is trending to be neck-and-neck with Evander Holyfield, the gold standard of a cruiserweight that moved up to heavyweight.
Sandor Martin – In a sleepy, and somewhat cold Fresno night, Sandor Martin outboxed Mikey Garcia in an odd fight, that in a few years fight fans will probably forget. The fight seemingly said more about where Garcia’s mind is at in the sport of boxing, but that doesn’t discredit Martin from winning and doing what he needed to do.
Kiko Martinez – Martinez knocked out Kid Galahad in a result that shocked everyone, to be fair, I shut my TV off, and only heard about the result as I viewed it as all but a formality. Martinez now is a two-division world champion.
Mauricio Lara – Lara beat Josh Warrington via a brutal knockout, as he was largely looked at as a tune-up fight only to defeat Warrington badly.