|KNOW THE BEST IN SPORT|
|January 5-11, 2021|
Big fights for 2021: Will they take place?
Unfortunately in boxing sometimes not always the best fights or the fights that “should happen” do take place, due to competing interests among boxers, promotions and sanctioning organisms, but we can at least analyse some great fights that should ideally happen this year.
Ryan García (USA) beat former Olympic Champion, Luke Campbell (ENG), to take the WBC interim Lightweight Title with a big liver hook, although Campbell did knock him down once. Due to his social media popularity he is set to become one of the biggest stars in boxing and might be calling the shots within an extremely competitive Lightweight Division, where Teófimo López (HON, #1 by The Sportspedia) is number one since he beat Pound for Pound-rated Vasyl Lomachenko (UKR, #2) but before taking any of them, the Mexican-American would be better off first fighting against Gervonta Davis (USA, #3) -his preferred option- or WBC Champion Devin Haney (USA, #4). All of them could be great matchups amongst them.
The Welterweight should have a fight among Pound for Pound top fives: Terence Crawford (USA, #2 Pound for Pound by The Sportspedia) and Errol Spence Jr (USA, #4 P4P). Crawford has been the #1 Lightweight and Super Lightweight by beating the best in those divisions but he has still not beat the very best Welters..And also-unbeaten Errol Spence Jr is the best available. Crawford took less time to beat Kell Brook (ENG) than Spence did, indeed. Manny Pacquiao (FIL, #3) should not be discarded just due to his age, and he could also be in the mix. A fight against Miguel Ángel García (MEX, #5) could be the best matchup. There are rumours that such fight could take place in the Middle East.
The Heavyweight will also be very interesting this year and the fight that should happen is an All-British bout between Tyson Fury (ENG, #1), who beat Deontay Wilder (USA, #5), and Anthony Joshua (ENG, #2), who absolutely dominated Andy Ruiz Jr (MEX, #4) -in their rematch- and Kubrat Pulev (BGR).
In the smaller weight classes, Juan Francisco Estrada (MEX, #1) has already signed a contract to fight a rematch against Román González (NIC, #3), who beat him eight years ago. This should be a great fight and Estrada should be the favorite to win this time around.
#1 Pound for Pound, Saúl Álvarez (MEX) wants to clean the Super Middleweight by taking all titles, so that means he could be fighting Caleb Plant (USA, #3) and Billy Joe Saunders (ENG). But, as we have previously suggested, what about a fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr (USA), the biggest fight that boxing could do today? Canelo is not the same boxer he was when they first fought.
We have released our yearly Boxing Men’s World Ranking and there are other divisions where two fighters should fight to make it clear who is #1: Light Heavyweight between unbeaten Russians Dmitry Bivol (#1) and Artur Beterbiev (#2), Super Lightweight between unbeaten Champions Josh Taylor (SCO, #1) and José Carlos Ramírez (USA, #2), Super Bantamweight between unbeaten Mexican World Champions Luis Nery (#1), Rey Vargas (#2) and Brandon Figueroa (#3), and Light Flyweight, between unbeaten Japanese World Champions, Kenshiro Teraji (#1) and Hiroto Kyoguchi (#2).
Certainly not all will take place but let’s hope that at least some do.
|Five things to know from last week|
- Barça loses against Germans again. Football Club Barcelona lost to Bayern München in the UEFA Champions League and now also Handball Barça lost to a German team: underdogs THW Kiel beat them 33-28 in the postponed Final of the EHF Champions League. Watch the highlights (EHF)
- Winter Sports. Norway decided not to participate in the Tour de Ski. The Defending Men’s Champion Alexander Bolshunov (RUS) leads after winning three of four races. Linn Svahn (SWE) also won two but so far it is a US American 1-2 because Jessie Diggins (USA) and Rosie Brennan (USA) made the 1-2 in the 10 km F Pursuit and then again in the 10 KM Free. In Ski Jumping, the 69th Four Hills Tournament is led by Innsbruck winner Kamil Stoch (POL). There, Halvor Egner Granerud (NOR) and Karl Geiger (DEU) had a disappointing day. Geiger and Dawid Kubacki (POL) won the two other hills. In Luge, Austria surprised Germany to take the Team Relay at the Königsee World Cup with a mistake by Loch, who did take the individual race. Read a winter sports recap for the weekend here (The Sportspedia)
- Fights in Japan. December 31st had two big fight cards in Japan. Kazuto Ioka (JPN) scored a big win to defend his WBO Super-Flyweight Title by frustrating Kosei Tanaka’s (JPN) attempt to be Champion in four weights, by TKO. In Rizin Fighting MMA, Ayaka Hamasaki (JPN) won the Atomweight title by beating three-time wrestling World Champion, Miyuu Yamamoto (JPN), with a leg strangulation. Kyoji Horiguchi reclaimed the Bantamweight Title by beating Kai Asakura (JPN) in a rematch. Watch the Hamasaki – Yamamoto fight here.
- Tragedy in Indian Horse Racing. The Indian 1000 Guineas were won by Forest Flame (IND), ridden by Trevor Patel (IND). Unfortunately, one of the contenders, Noble Queen stumbled in the final stretch, breaking both her legs, and she had to be euthanized after the race. In Hyderabad, an apprentice jockey, Jitendra Singh (IND) suffered a fall and also unfortunately succumbed to his injuries, at the Osmar Sagan Plate (Div. II).(Times of India)
- NFL playoffs set. The Browns will break the longest streak without a playoff appearance, 18 years, when they play the Wildcard Game next week, their first invitation earned to an NFL Playoff. They beat the Steelers in their final game but it looks unlikely that the Steelers will lose against them again next week, with a full squad. The Kansas City Chiefs (14-2) had the best Record in AFC and the Green Bay Packers had the best record in NFC (13-3). Full playoff picture (The Sportspedia)
|GLOBAL PODIUM OF THE WEEK|
|Gold: Mathieu van der Poel|
Mathieu settled it with Wout van Aert (BEL) for this week with a total domination. He won four races out of four he took part of: the Class 1 X²0 badkamers Trofee – GP Sven Nys (eight seconds over Wout), the Class 1 2020-2021 UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup, Hulst (by a minute and a half over Wout, going solo practically the whole race) and the Class 2 Cyclocross Bredene and Cyclocross Gullegem. This might have been the most dominant season for a cyclo-cross rider ever…So far.
Watch the Hulst World Cup
|Silver: Javier Urriza and Jagoba Labaka Azpiazu|
(Spain, Basque Pelota)
Urriza and Labaka won the Remonte Parejas, the most important Remonte doubles tournament in the world. Urriza has now won the doubles txapela with six different defenders (2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2019), something that no one else has done. He is one title off Zeberio III’s (ESP) historic tally. Labaka was impressive by winning on his debut year in the maximum circuit.
Watch a small clip on Urriza
|Bronze: Gerwyn Price|
Gerwyn became the first Welshman to win a PDC World Darts Championship and what a way of doing so! He beat two-time World Champion Gary Anderson (SCO) 7-3. He made several mistakes when he could have won it but he also had an average of 136.64 in a single set, the highest in the World Championship’s history. Also his Semifinal against Stephen Bunting (ENG) was a great game with 13 three-figure finishes of which Price scored eight, also a World Championship record. He scored 13 180’s in the Final.
Watch the Final’s Highlights
|GLOBAL SPORTS AGENDA|
The NFL will have its Wildcard games. After they take place, only eight teams will have a chance to play in the Super Bowl.
NBA is having a solid start and so is Stephen Curry (USA), who broke his scoring record, with the Golden Gate Warriors, who then went on to batter the Sacramento Kings a day later.
The Dakar Rally left the pebbles of the first day and is now taking on the difficult dunes of Saudi Arabia. Cristina Gutiérrez (ESP) became the first woman to win a stage since 2005, taking the Super Lightweight vehicle Stage 1.
In Winter Sports, Cross-Country Skiing will see the Tour de Ski come to and end, and for Ski Jumping that will be the case for its Four Hills Tournament. Skiing, Biathlon, Sliding Sports and Snowboard also have world Cups. Bandy and Ice Hockey also have action with the Russian Super Cup, the Russian Super League and the Kontinental Hockey League.
Racquetball starts its year with a Grand Slam tournament. Golf does so with the PGA Tournament of Champions.
FIS World Cup (Switzerland, Austria, Croatia)
NFL Wildcard Games
CONMEBOL Copa Libertadores Semi Finals (Ida)
Domestic Cups (Carabao Cup Semi-Final, Copa del Rey, FA Cup)
Domestic Leagues (La Liga, Ligue 1, Bundesliga, Serie A, Liga MX, FA Women’s Super League)
Best in the Desert (Parker, USA)
Dakar Rally (Saudi Arabia)
TC 2000 (Río Cuarto, Argentina)
Trophée Andros (Isola 2000, France x2)
IX Russian Super Cup
XXIX Championship of Russia. Super League – 2020-2021 Stage I
Liga Mexicana del Pacífico Quarterfinals
Serie Nacional de Béisbol de Cuba Quarterfinals
Winter League Playoffs (Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela)
FIBA Basketball Champions League Regular Season
NBA Regular Season
ASPE Campeonato Parejas Games
FFPB Main nue Pro individuel Phase de Brassage
IBU World Cup (Germany)
World Snooker Tour Masters start
Bobsleigh & Skeleton:
BMW IBSF World Cup (Germany)
Chess.com – Puzzle Battle World Championship
2019–21 ICC World Test Championship Australia vs India, New Zealand vs Pakistan
Australian Big Bash League
FIS World Cup Tour de Ski – 5 remaining stages (Italy)
Quake Pro League Season 2: Stage 2
SMITE World Championship
PGA Tour – Tournament of Champions (USA)
Horse Racing (Flat):
Indian 2000 Guineas (India)
Queen’s Plate, Paddock Stakes (South Africa)
Kontinental Hockey League Regular Season
Major Arena Soccer League Regular Season starts
IJF Doha Masters 2021
FIL World Cup (Latvia)
Auto Race – Opening Memorial Silk Cup (Isesaki, Japan)
Best in the Desert (Parker, USA)
Dakar Rally (Saudi Arabia)
La Grande Odyssée (France)
Para Alpine Skiing:
La Molina 2021 WPAS World Cup (Possible)
IRT – Suivant Consulting Pro Am (GS)
Premier 15s Matches
Top 14 Matches
Sodebo Ultim 3 Round-the-world voyage
Tropheé Jules Verne – Gitana Team unlikely start
Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup
FIS World Cup 69th FOUR HILLS TOURNAMENT (Bischofshosen)
World Cup Big Air (Switzerland)
World Cup PGS (Austria)
JSA- Grand Tournament – The January Tournament start
World Surf League – Big Wave – Jaws Championship Pe’ahi
Abu Dhabi WTA Women’s Tennis Open, WTA 500
*This agenda is based on official information at time of publication. All events are subject to change and/or cancellation.
Sport’s best values
|Leadership: Paul Westphal|
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“I’m sure that over the next days, we will hear quite a lot of potential changes on the different calendars, not only Formula 1, but on other calendars…If I had to commit on a back to kind of normal, even if I feel it will be a different life behind the COVID-19 crisis, I think half of next year, in my opinion, will not be as we could have expected to have in a normal season.”
Jean Todt (FRA)
Following the postponement of the Australian Grand Prix, which was set to take place in March.