In a year that has already had a decade’s worth of drama and events with two months to go, many people are already looking forward to 2021 and hoping it’s a much better year than 2020 for a variety of reasons. The thing 2020 will be mostly remembered for in the future is the COVID-19 pandemic and the havoc it has wreaked on every single country in the world with the amount of lives lost and destroyed.
There is already cause for optimism as one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world has already announced that they have developed a vaccine that is 90% effective. Another cause of optimism is that sports, which have been affected like everything else by the pandemic, are already making a return and even though arenas and stadiums are still mostly empty, it is likely that people can begin to watch their favorite sporting events live soon enough, maybe as early as 2021. There are plenty of different motorsports to bet on in 2021 but in this article, we will focus on other types as well. Here are some of the most-anticipated sporting events of next year:
After getting shut down on the 11th of March after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus, a bubble was created at Disney World in Florida for them to finish their season and playoffs to determine who would be the NBA champs and awards like the NBA MVP and NBA DPOY. The bubble ended up being a success and treated basketball fans to high-level playoff basketball at a time when not much else in the world was going well. Players such as Jamal Murray, Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell and Bam Adebayo did well and burnished their reputations while players like Paul George, James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Giannis Antetokoumpo got some deserved criticism for their disappointing performances.
The NBA final came down to the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers and was won by the Lakers, led by the ageless LeBron James. Ahead of the next season tentatively scheduled for December 2020, there are a number of factors/questions that will make the next NBA season a must watch for basketball fans such as:
· What will a new-look NBA be like now that returning superstars like Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Klay Thompson are back?
· Will the young stars that stepped up in their absence challenge them for spots on the All-star team and All-NBA teams or will they wait their turn?
· Does LeBron James have it in him to lead the Lakers to another ring and when does it become Anthony Davis’s team?
· How will superstars like Kawhi and Giannis react to their disappointing performances?
With the NBA draft taking place on the 18th of November, the fans will have a lot to take in and discuss before the eventual return of the league on December 20.
In the wake of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s shock retirement, the lightweight division just got much more interesting as there are many challengers who will now see a path to the top of the division now that the Alpha dog has retired. Many observers are now floating the idea of a lightweight tournament where the likes of Justin Gaethje, Connor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler, Al Iaquinta, Diego Ferreira, Tony Ferguson and Dan Hooker etc. can compete for the title and a cash prize. Such a scenario would genuinely enthrall fans and stretch over most of 2021. There are other fighters in other divisions that are genuinely entertaining such as Israel Adesanya, Kamaru Usman and of course McGregor himself to entertain the fans next year.
For lovers of the combat sport, 2021 is one of the most exciting years as some much-anticipated bouts are on the cards for next year such as:
Joshua versus Fury:
A mock-up of Tyson Fury taking on Anthony Joshua (Image: DAZN)
The potential clash of both Brits will set the winner up to be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world as long as both can win their next bouts. Fury will face Deontay Wilder again and Joshua will take on Kubrat Pulev in a mandatory fight and if both win as expected, then the mouth-watering clash of the top dogs in the heavyweight division will be on.
Canelo versus Golovkin:
Since their last fight which Alvarez won controversially by majority decision, fans have been eagerly awaiting their next bout and they might get their wish in 2021 if both fighters win their mandatory challenges first. In that instance, we will most likely see the two best pound-for-pound fighters in the world square up one more time.
The beautiful game is already underway in leagues all over the world and in European tournaments already. In England, Manchester City and Liverpool have renewed their rivalry with Chelsea threatening to crash the party if they maintain their current form. In Germany, Bayern Munich has picked up where they left off last season. In Spain, Barcelona and Madrid have not yet pulled away from the chasing pack and in Italy, a Zlatan- led A.C Milan sit atop the table, 4 and 5 points ahead of Juventus and Inter Milan respectively.
In European tournaments, the teams are already halfway through their group stage while the qualifiers for the European tournament next summer are still ongoing. By 2021, football fans around the world will enjoy the title race, relegation battle, highest goal scorers and league MVPS of all these leagues as well as the winners of the Champions league, Europa league and the Copa Libertadores which will be contested among South American clubs. On the continental front, we will have the European championships and the Copa America to entertain us while the 2021 African cup of Nations has sadly been postponed till 2022
For sports lovers, 2021 is shaping up to be a wonderful year for sports and we are here for all of it.