In 2021, Nigerian sports recorded incredible, nerve-wracking, eye-raising, jaw-dropping and disappointing moments. In this article, we will focus on the latter.
Anthony Joshua’s second career defeat by Oleksander Usyk, Blessing Okagbare’s drug ban, Super Eagles’ shocking home defeat in the hands of Central African Republic (CAR) — and four other events — were among the most disappointing moments in sports this year.
Adekuoroye’s first round ouster at Olympics
Many believed that Odunayo Adekuoroye was going to have an easy ride to the podium at the Olympic Games, considering her record on the world stage.
But it was not to be.
The two-time Commonwealth gold medalist lost to Anastasia Nichita of the Republic of Moldova on account of a fall. Adekuoroye was leading 8-2 on the scorecard before Nichita achieved the win via victory by fall (VBF).
Joshua’s second career defeat
Anthony Joshua lost his heavyweight titles to Oleksandr Usyk when he was outpointed by the former cruiserweight king in September to suffer his second career defeat, having lost to Andy Ruiz Jr two years ago.
Banyana Banyana stunned Super Falcons in Lagos
The South African women national team tore apart Super Falcons in front of the home crowd in Lagos at the inaugural Aisha Buhari Cup in September, recording a 4-2 victory over the nine-time African champions.
Super Eagles upset by CAR
Just like their female counterparts, the three-time African champions were stunned at home in their World Cup qualifier game against the Central African Republic (CAR), a team ranked 124th in the world.
The 1-0 loss at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos was Nigeria’s first-ever defeat to the CAR.
Blessing Okagbare’s doping ban
Nigeria’s sprint queen was banned by the World Athletics (WA) after failing an out-of-competition test ahead of the women’s 100 metres semi-final race at the Tokyo Olympics.
The US-based sprinter tested positive for human growth hormone (HGH). The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said Okagbare failed the out-of-competition test taken on July 19.
Efe Ajagba’s first boxing career defeat
Delta state-born Efe Ajagba was handed his first professional boxing career defeat in October as an undercard in the heavyweight title trilogy showdown between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury.
Ajagba, who survived the entire duration of the fight to the tenth round, lost to Frank Sanchez of Cuba, who proved to be a stronger fighter.
Israel Adesanya’s first career loss
The Nigerian-born New Zealander moved up to the 205 pounds category to challenge Jan Blachowicz, the then champion of the division, for a second belt in March.
In his bid to become the fifth fighter in UFC history to hold two titles concurrently, he lost by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-45, 49-45) — marking his first career defeat.
The loss brought his professional MMA career record to 20-1.