The next 12 months are going to be huge in the world of boxing. Not only are we on the verge of a number of superfights that we’ve been waiting for for years, but there’s also a number of top fighters who are ready to set the stage alight. Some are hoping for superstardom, some simply want recognition, whilst others just need to rebuild. Below we pick out five boxers to keep an eye out for in 2021...
23-year-old Shakur Stevenson has been considered one of the hottest properties in boxing for some time now and the 2016 Olympic silver medallist has a big year ahead of him. The former WBO featherweight champion now plies his trade at junior lightweight where there is a bounty of top fights on offer for unbeaten American. Stevenson has already iterated his desire to face the winner of Carl Frampton versus Jamel Herring this year - the perfect opportunity to launch himself on to the world stage.
Another top junior lightweight, WBA champion Gervonta Davis has also signified his intent to become the de facto king at 130lbs. We don’t expect Stevenson will be ready to jump in the ring with ‘Tank’ just yet but for Davis there’s countless other megafights to be made, especially at lightweight where Teofimo Lopez, Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia and Vasyl Lomachenko are all possibilities. The Baltimore native has long been associated with Floyd Mayweather Jr, the master to his apprentice, but this year Davis can take a big step out of that intimidating shadow.
In the aftermath of Terri Harper’s mandatory WBC title defence against Katharina Thanderz in November, promoter Eddie Hearn challenged the super-featherweight champion to become undisputed by the end of 2021. One of the best things about women’s boxing is that champions tend to fight other champions much more often than in the men’s game, and there are plenty of routes to superstardom for Harper in 2021.
She could face the unbeaten American and WBO title holder Mikaela Mayer in a huge unification megafight or perhaps the two newcomers to Hearn’s Matchroom stable, Maiva Hamadouche or Hyun-Mi Cho, who just so happen to hold the IBF and WBA straps respectively. Women’s boxing just keeps getting bigger and bigger, and 2021 won’t be any different - perhaps it will be Terri Harper who leads the charge in Britain.
IBF super-middleweight champion Caleb Plant is already confident that he’s the best boxer at 168lbs and in a division where the main titles are split between himself, Canelo and Billy Joe Saunders, there’s potential for some really fun unification fights in 2021. Nicknamed ‘Sweet Hands,’ Plant carries a big punch and is rarely in a dull fight. In fact, he kicks off the new year on January 30 against the tough Caleb Truax and that has potential for fireworks.
Daniel Dubois might have suffered the first defeat of his professional career against Joe Joyce in 2020 but that doesn’t mean anyone needs to hit the panic button just yet. At just 23-years-old, Dubois is still a few years away from really hitting his stride in the ring and 2021 will provide the man from Greenwich with ample opportunity to bounce back. The heavyweight division is burgeoning with talent at the moment and ‘DDD’ will be chomping at the bit to restore some honour.