After 2020 ended with a relative bang – as a live crowd of 1,000 fans were allowed to cheer on unified WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO world champion Anthony Joshua as he knocked out IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev in the ninth round at Wembley Arena - it was a much quieter start to 2021 for the sport of boxing.
While a month-long suspension of British boxing was put in place due to a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases, five title fights took place stateside during January.
In Dallas, on Saturday 2 January, American Ryan Garcia stopped the UK’s Luke Campbell in the seventh round to claim the WBC ‘Interim’ Lightweight Title, while Venezuelan Roger Gutiérrez took the WBA Super-Featherweight Title from Nicaraguan René Alvarado.
The rest of the month saw North American fighters battling it out in match ups across California and Connecticut.
A unanimous decision gave Stephen Fulton victory over Angelo Leo for the WBO Super-Bantamweight Title, Trevor Bryan knocked out Bermane Stiverne to win the vacant WBA (Regular) heavyweight title, and Caleb Plant retained the IBF Super-Middleweight Title against Caleb Truax.
Looking ahead, the good news is that February yields a fair few more fights to keep the UK’s boxing fans happy during yet another Covid-19 national lockdown.
British boxing returns on Saturday 13 February with Brit Josh Warrington set to face Mexican Mauricio Lara in a battle for the IBF World Featherweight Title.
We will be rooting for Leeds favourite Warrington and hoping a win for him will set up a 2021 blockbuster against long-reigning WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr.
But with the uncertainty caused by the ongoing pandemic, there are unfortunately no guarantees that all of the planned upcoming fights will go ahead.
Take the Floyd Mayweather and Logan Paul exhibition bout that was slated for Saturday 20 February. That fight has already been called off with a Mayweather spokesperson saying that the postponement had been caused by ‘Covid and other things’.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the rest of the fights we are expecting to see happen in February can indeed go ahead.
Friday 12 February at MGM Grand Bubble, Las Vegas, USA
- Joe Smith Jr vs Maxim Vlasov (WBO Light-Heavyweight Title)
Saturday 13 February at Wembley Arena, London, UK
- Josh Warrington vs Mauricio Lara (IBF World Featherweight Title)
- Zelfa Barrett vs Kiko Martinez (Super-Featherweight)
- Leigh Wood vs Reece Mould (British Featherweight Title)
Saturday 13 February at Venue TBC, USA
- Jojo Diaz vs Shavkat Rakhimov (IBF Super-Featherweight Title)
- Patrick Teixeira vs Brian Castano (WBO Super-Welterweight Title)
Saturday 20 February at Venue TBC, UK
- David Avanesyan vs Josh Kelly (European Welterweight Title)
- Anthony Fowler vs Jorge Fortea (Super-Welterweight)
- Florian Marku vs Rylan Charlton (Welterweight)
Saturday 20 February at MGM Grand Bubble, Las Vegas, USA
- Miguel Berchelt vs Oscar Valdez (WBC Super-Featherweight Title)
- Gabe Flores Jr vs Jayson Velez (Super-Featherweight)
Saturday 27 February at Spark Arena, Auckland, New Zealand
- Joseph Parker vs Junior Fa (Heavyweight)
Saturday 27 February at London Venue TBC, UK
- Jamel Herring vs Carl Frampton (WBO Super-Featherweight Title)
Saturday 27 February at Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, USA
- Canelo Alvarez vs Avni Yildirim (WBA & WBC Super-Middleweight Titles)
- Julio Cesar Martinez vs McWilliams Arroyo (WBC Flyweight Title)