Boxing Shocks of 2021

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There have been plenty of shocks in the boxing world over the course of 2021, but which one ranks as our biggest of the calendar year?

Oleksandr Usyk got the better of Anthony Joshua in one of the shocks of 2021.

No matter the titles, the unbeaten records, the hype and the trash talk boxing has the ability to stun both punters and fans with some huge upsets. This year was no different and we look back at the biggest shocks of 2021. 

5) Anthony Joshua v OLEKSANDR USYK

Of course, Oleksnadr Usyk was only a 9/4 shot come fight night, but he had been a far bigger price in the build up to the bout and away from the betting side of things this was a huge shock.

Nearly every boxing pundit, casual fan and the entire media expected Anthony Joshua to be too big, too strong and too powerful for the Ukrainian. 

Usyk was the former undisputed and undefeated cruiserweight champion, but he was giving away huge size and power advantages to AJ. 

It wasn’t a huge shock that Usyk had the skills and movement to cause problems, but the Cat’s complete control and the fact he had the Watford man rocked on numerous occasions was unexpected. 

It was a brilliant and dominant performance and for that reason has to be one of the shocks of the year. 

4) Teofimo Lopez v GEORGE KAMBOSOS JR

Teofimo Lopez made the first defence of his WBA, WBO and IBF lightweight titles against mandatory challenger George Kambosos and those were titles he had won when putting in a stunning performance to beat Vasyl Lomachenko last year. 

The only way was up for the Takeover and he was 1/10 to make it 16 professional fights without defeat. 

George Kambosos was also unbeaten, but there was nothing like the quality of Lomachenko on his record and his win over former world champion Lee Selby was the only victory of note.

However, the Aussie got the verdict by split decision, and with two of the judges scoring the bout 115–111 and 115–112 in favour of Kambosos, it was a more ferocious victory than that indicates. 

3) MAURICO LARA v Josh Warrington

Josh Warrington returned to the ring to face Maurico Lara, but his sights were set on a world-title bout against China’s Xu Can. 

This was expected to be just a tickover fight for the Leeds man and quotes of 1/14 expected nothing less than a win for Warrington. 

However, Lara had other ideas. The Mexican broke Warrington down and eventually stopped the Leeds Warrior in the ninth round. 

Bronco had been as big as 10/1 to win the bout, but he proved that it was no fluke when drawing with Warrington in the rematch. 

2) Gamal Yafai v JASON CUNNINGHAM

Jason Cunningham has the word underdog tattooed across his chest and perhaps that should have given Gamal Yafai an idea of what was to come. 

Yafai had previously won the European super-bantamweight title against Luca Rigoldi and the Birmingham boxer was 1/16 to make a successful defence of his belt. 

However, Cunningham floored the champ three times, and went on to get the decision and claim the European crown. 

Perhaps the Iceman will give punters another clue with his next Tattoo. 

1) SANDOR MARTIN v Mikey Garcia

Sandor Martin had never fought in America, he had been mixing it at a pretty low level in his native Spain, but he travelled to Mikey Garcia’s home state and pulled off an almighty shock against the former four-division world champion. 

Garcia had only a single defeat on a 41-fight card and that came against the elite Errol Spence.

The California hitter was a 1/20 shot to move past Martin, but the Spaniard enjoyed his time in the sunshine and secured a stunning victory.

*All odds correct at time of writing

An experienced sports journalist, Henry’s knowledge spans across a number of different areas, including darts and snooker.
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