Anyone that knows me, will testify that I am sports mad. An addict if you like!
2017 was one hell of a year from a sporting perspective and 2018 looks like it could be even better! So with that in mind, I thought I would take a look at a few of my favourite sporting superstars who I think are going to be worth keeping an eye on as the year plays out.
The unified world heavyweight champion making boxing fun again! Not only is Anthony a ferocious & entertaining boxer, he also seems like an absolute top bloke with a positive & humble attitude.
2017 for AJ will be remembered for the epic battle with Wladimir Klitschko, where he managed to get through the first knock down of his career, before overpowering the experienced Ukrainian legend in the 11th round.
This fight not surprisingly was named The Ring’s Fight of the Year.
Following that epic battle, there was talk of a rematch, but tellingly, Klitschko announced his retirement from boxing 6 months later.
It is 2018 and AJ is a wanted man. Like with all sports, everyone wants a piece of the number 1 and this year sees at least two of AJ's biggest challengers knocking on his door.
They are American Deontay Wilder who is the current WBC Heavyweight champion and also New Zealander Joseph Parker who is the current WBO Heavyweight champion.
From the most recent reports, it looks like Parker will be AJ's first fight for 2018 with a likely fight with Wilder to follow.
AJ is already guaranteed to go down in the history of boxing as a great, but if he can navigate his way through Parker and Wilder this year, then he is destined to be considered a heavyweight legend alongside the likes likes of Ali, Foreman, Frazier and Tyson.
My Predictions for 2018
I think AJ can beat both Parker and Wilder to cement his place amongst the elite of heavyweights. I see the Parker fight going the distance with AJ winning on points and the Wilder fight being explosive & dangerous, but AJ getting the knockout between round 8 and 10.
With the likes of Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka all struggling with injuries, form and/or personal issues it seems like the Swiss Maestro has 2018 at his mercy!
The 2017 season marked Federer’s return to excellence. He managed to win the most number of grand slams since 2009, the most titles since 2007 and had the highest win percentage since 2006. Statistically it was Roger’s best year since 2007.
How quickly things can change. This time last year, people were questioning whether Federer could even win another grand slam and suggesting he should call it a day. Fast forward 12 months and there is even the whispers of a possible calendar grand slam if he can stay healthy!
Right now as it stands, Roger is the GOAT of tennis. Quite remarkable when you consider that Roger is 36, which in tennis terms is like 66!
Who knows what 2018 has in store for Roger, maybe he does not win another grand slam, maybe he does retire at the end of the year? But what is for certain, is that I like almost every other single tennis fan across the world, no matter what their nationality, will be cheering him on in between each and every point.
My Predictions for 2018
Given that his main rivals are falling like flies right now, I think Roger can win the Australian Open in January to claim his 20th grand slam. I also believe that if he manages to stay healthy and plays enough tennis he will be able to reach 100 career titles and I also think he can go close to winning Wimbledon.
As a four-time Formula One World Champion, Lewis is considered the best driver of his generation and one of the best the sport has ever seen.
2017 saw Hamilton overcome a few early mishaps to roar past title rival Sebastian Vettel to claim his fourth World Title, seeing him join the likes of Juan Manuel Fangio, Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost and Sebstian Vettel as drivers with four or more World Championship Titles.
2017 also saw Hamilton break the record for most number of pole positions (he currently has 72) as well as the most number of front row starts with 117.
For me, 2017 was one of the best and most interesting F1 seasons that I have seen in some time. Watching a genuine rivalry develop between Hamilton and Vettel was great for the sport and the fans and I also believe that the exciting Red Bull pair of Riccardo and Verstappen will ensure that 2018 goes to another level.
Lewis makes a point of enjoying his life and his friends in between races, which seems to attract some people to question his professionalism and dedication to the sport. I personally think this is crazy, the simple fact is that Lewis has won 3 out of the last 4 World Championships. So my advice is keep doing you and have fun proving the doubters wrong.
My Predictions for 2018
I believe the Hamilton - Vettel rivalry will continue to heat up and I think Vettel will be determined to rectify the mistakes of 2017, which saw him fade out of the title race. I think Max Verstappen is destined for big things in F1 and if he can find a bit more consistency and improve his driving "IQ", then he could definitely be in the mix come the last few races.
But if I had to put some money on it, then I am going Hamilton. He is a born winner and a true competitor and for him it is about becoming the greatest ever. I truly think he wants to get past Schumacher. Time will tell.
Ronaldo v Messi
Everyone has their preferred, but who is the best? That’s the real question.
To date Messi has won 30 club titles and Ronaldo 24. When it comes to titles with their country, Messi has won 2 (all be it one was an U20 World Cup and the other a Gold Medal at the Olympics) and Ronaldo has won 1, The Euro Championships.
As for individual honours, well both players have claimed the Ballon d’Or an incredible fives times, but it is Ronaldo who edges this one with 23-21 individual awards.
Some would say the real difference comes down to their personalities. Messi is considered more of a reserved & humble team orientated type, where as Ronaldo is the flashy bravado type who demands the ball and the spotlight at all times.
Whichever way you look at this one, there is no argument that these two are on a different level and have been for some time. The consistency of their sheer brilliance has been evident for almost the last decade.
With the World Cup coming up this year, maybe this can help settle the argument? If either man can sparkle on the biggest stage in world football and lead their country to be crowned World Champions, then that has to provide us with the answer of who truly is the greatest.
My Predictions for 2018
The World Cup is one of the greatest sporting competitions in the world and I cannot wait! I do not see either Portugal or Argentina getting to the final, so unfortunately the question of who is better, may just have to always come down to personal opinion.
If I had to choose one, it would be.......Messi.
Oh and I am tipping France to win the World Cup. You heard it hear first!
We’re not here just to take part; we’re here to take over!
Love him or hate him, Conor McGregor aka Mystic Mac, deserves some respect. To think that only 5 years ago Conor was an amateur fighter on the dole, living with his parents with a dream of making it to the UFC is mind blowing when you consider his position now.
It all started to fall into place in late 2015 when he knocked out the undisputed pound-for-pound and 10-year undefeated Featherweight Champion, Jose Aldo in less than 10 seconds.
As the newly crowned UFC Featherweight Champion, Conor quickly declared to the world that he wanted to become UFC's first ever two-weight Champion by getting his hands on the Lightweight belt as well.
After two enthralling battles with Nate Diaz, which saw Conor lose for the first time in his UFC career, before winning the rematch, Conor finally got his wish with a fight against Lightweight Champion, Eddie Alvarez.
Many people considered this a step too far for McGregor, considering Alvarez's wrestling abilities and very aggressive approach. However, it would be McGregor who once again proved the world wrong with a second-round technical knockout to win the UFC Lightweight belt and become the first ever two-weight Champion.
What followed was beyond belief with Conor managing to somehow convince arguably the greatest ever boxer in Floyd Mayweather Jr to come out of retirement and fight him in a boxing match. After a lengthy world press tour, which saw trash talking and showboating taken to new levels, Conor and Floyd stepped into the ring.
Although maybe surprising a few “experts” and even Mayweather in the early few rounds, Conor’s lack of boxing experience started to tell and Mayweather ended up being declared the winner when the fight was ended in round 10.
I do truly think that Conor believed he could beat Mayweather (49-0) at his own sport and it is this unwavering self-belief and willingness to constantly step out of his comfort zone that I think is why he deserves respect.
Who knows what the future holds for Conor now? But as he recently tweeted, he is now making “Diddy’s Bread” and they have to get on their knees and beg!
My Predictions for 2018
In the last 3-4 years Conor has been one of the most active fighters in the UFC and after making ridiculous money for the fight against Mayweather, it would be understandable if he wanted to take some time off!
However, I do believe that the UFC will manage to get him back into the octagon. Likely opponents include interim Lightweight champion, Tony Ferguson, the dangerous Khabib Nurmagomedov and lets not forget the prospect of a trilogy fight against Nate Diaz.
Whatever happens this year, whether it be in an octagon, a ring or even on social media, Conor is someone I will enjoy watching!