With the year now well under way it seems only appropriate to start the collective pulses racing with a brief overview of what we have to look forward to in the coming months.

Having watched the opening few fixtures of the African Cup of Nations I must admit I wasn't overwhelmed by the prospect of sitting through yet another 0-0 draw followed by Quentin Fortune and Efan Ekoku explaining tactics. Thrilling.

But the great Cape Verde - whose entire population is roughly equal to that of Norwich - have steamed through the group stages and made the quarter finals for the first time in their history.
It's quite a story, but doesn't really make up for the fact the overall standard of play in the competition is pretty appalling.

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No amount of romanticism regarding supposed giant killing can make up for the fact that the most games have been dull as ditch water. Bore draws seem to be the order of the day.
No, for truly compelling viewing we football fans will have to wait for the Champions League and FA Cup finals at the end of May.

Turning our attention to a sport replete with legendary bruisers, the boxing calendar could well yield the most intriguing of sporting match-ups.

In David Price we have a genuine contender to the much coveted Klitchsko crown: a trophy many a fighter has sought, but none have yet succeeded in prising from the asteroid-sized fists of the giant Ukrainian.

But after mopping up on the domestic scene with systematic destructions of professional lummox Audley Harrison and big John McDermott, Price is certain to enjoy a blockbuster 2013 campaign.

Lower down the weight divisions, a much anticipated match- up between Bolton belter Amir Khan and Sheffield’s ‘Special K’, Kell Brook is looking unlikely, but both could well find themselves clutching world titles in the near future.

And then there’s Carl Froch. The Cobra, the wrecking ball; Froch epitomises everything you want in a fighter. He’s willing to take on anyone, anywhere, to achieve his goal.

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This year that goal is world domination in the middle-weight division. The only problem is, pound-for-pound king Andre Ward stands in his way. The proposed meeting of those two later this year promises to dispel any myths regarding the quality of British fighters on the international scene.

Just around the corner is a tournament that always lifts the collective sporting spirit, pitting old foes against one other in mud-and-guts battle.

I’m of course referring to the Six Nations, which begins on Saturday.

This year’s competition has a more intriguing feel to it than most in recent memory, because there is no clear favourite.

England, who finished runner-up last year, endured an average autumn series until their last, unforgettable game.

Those 80 minutes will forever be part of English rugby folklore; a feat never before achieved by any side wearing the red rose: absolutely battering the All Blacks.

It was a majestic performance.

But the Six Nations is a very different beast, and away trips to both Wales and Ireland could prove a tricky hurdle in the pursuit of glory.

Stuart Lancaster's men will want to draw on renewed sense of belief and team spirit in the camp. And in Manu Tuilagi they have a talismanic figure with the potential to terrorise any defence in the competition.

With a win percentage of 66% in Six Nations rugby it's certainly not beyond England to secure the Championship Trophy in a month’s time.

Among the many other - too many to mention - sporting events of note this year, this summer's Ashes series is surely one of the stand-out attractions.

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Mainly because England are heavily backed to batter the Aussies, so convincing have their recent performances been.

Having beaten India already, record numbers of punters have flooded Surrey Cricket Club with requests for tickets for the final game.

It's the first time an English Test has been entirely sold out before Christmas. So what does it promise?

Well, both captains can boast unrivalled support and both are reaching the peak of their powers.

Alistair Cook has continued his phenomenal form with the bat, smashing centuries left, right and centre. But Aussie skipper Michael Clarke has had a year of note himself.

Clarke is a pragmatic captain who will aim to frustrate and contain England’s bowlers. And as a disciple of Shane Warne, his side could spring a few surprises come the summer.

Both England and Australia have solid batsman right down the order, so I can see the outcome of the series being decided by the bowlers. And, it's here where England really do have an edge.

Graham Onions is world-class and having had the winter off, will be raring to claim a few Australian scalps in the summer. But the real difference could be in the spinners. Both Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar would walk into most test teams, and the pair provide England with what has to be the world’s deadliest spin attack.

It promises to be an interesting dust-up between the old enemies, but in my mind it’s England and Alistair Cook who will be raising the urn.

So there you are, the year’s sporting calendar planned out in all its glory. The only thing left to do is sit back and enjoy it!