By: Jake Donovan
The sixth and final leg of the World Boxing Super Series Season Two quarterfinals is now officially set.
A cruiserweight doubleheader will occupy the November 10 slot, which will take place at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois. Former cruiserweight titlists Krzysztof Glowacki and Mairis Briedis will appear in separate bouts, both undoubtedly eager to scout the other as there stands the likelihood of facing off further down the line in the WBSS Cruiserweight tourney.
Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account
The billed main event pits Briedis—a semifinalist in WBSS Season One— verus Noel Mikaelian, whose own dreams of entering the inaugural WBSS Cruiserweight tournament were thwarted in a preceding loss to eventual entrant Krzysztof Wlodarczyk. The co-main event—and more favorable local attraction, given the city’s thriving Polish community and its proven track record of supporting boxing in the area—pits Season One alternate Glowacki versus Russia’s Maksim Vlasov.
Briedis entered the first WBSS tournament as an undefeated titlist, advancing to the semifinal round before dropping a competitive decision to eventual tournament winner Oleksandr Usyk this past January in his homeland of Riga, Latvia. He returned to the win column on the undercard of Usyk’s tournament win in July, taking a 10 round decision over Brandon Deslarurier.
The forthcoming clash versus Mikaelian (23-1, 10KOs) will mark just his second pro bout in the United States. This occasion comes with far more notoriety than a club fight in North Carolina in his 9th pro bout—but in his mind, just as hungry and with a lot to prove.
“I am really looking forward to fighting in Chicago,” said Briedis (24-1, 18 KOs), who beat Marco Huck in March ’17 to begin a cruiserweight title reign which lasted just 10 months. “I am happy to be back in the World Boxing Super Series, and I am looking forward to fighting in front of a U.S. crowd.
“I am sure there will also be a lot of Latvians in the arena to help create a fantastic atmosphere.”
There will also be an opponent with a lot to prove after just missing out on the parade last time around.
Mikaelian (better known as Noel Gevor) came up just short in a title eliminator versus former champ Wlodarczyk last May, the split decision loss costing him a place in the cruiserweight tournament. The 28-year old contender from Germany has fought just once since then, a shutout win over Isiah Thomas last September.
Neither his aforementioned loss or a year-long inactive period has the boxer the least bit concerned about what is undoubtedly the stiffest test of his seven-year career.
“There are only world class fighters in this tournament, but I believe my ring IQ will give me the edge to win it,” Mikaelian insists.
The main event participants are hardly the only boxers on the bill looking to send a message.
With 13 years in the game, Vlasov (42-2, 25KOs) comes in as the most experienced among the eight-man cruiserweight field. He also has the last to show for it, coming up short during his years as a super middleweight in respective losses to Isaac Chilemba and Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez, the latter whom serves as an unbeaten super middleweight titlist.
The latter setback came in Jan. ’15, having since moved up to the cruiserweight division where he has won his last 12 starts. The most notable have come in separate knockout wins over revered punchers Rakhim Chakhkiev (Dec. ’16) and most recently Olanrewaju Durodola this past February in Russia.
In Glowacki (30-1, 19KOs), Vlasov faces his most dangerous challenge to date—even more so with his opponent eager to return to the top of the cruiserweight mountain.
The 32-year old southpaw from Poland grabbed headlines with his off-the-canvas knockout win over Marco Huck to become cruiserweight champion in their Aug. ’15 Fight of the Year-level war in New Jersey. His rabid Polish supporters in attendance cheered him through a 6th round knockdown, with Glowacki peeling himself off the canvas to later drop and eventually stop Huck, thus ending his record-tying cruiserweight title reign in the process.
Just one successful defense came of his reign, a 12-round points win over former two-time titlist Steve Cunningham in April ’16. His days as a titlist came to an end in a decision defeat to Usyk in their Sept. ’16 clash in Poland, having since won four straight.
Fittingly, his bout with Vlasov comes on the same night that Usyk will defend his undisputed World cruiserweight championship, several time zones away and earlier in the day versus Tony Bellew in London.
It only adds fuel to his fire.
“The plan is simple: take it all, give nothing back,” Glowacki promises. “I have been waiting for a long time for my chance, and I am full of power and great energy.
“I am going to win this tournament and become world champion again!”
Season Two of the World Boxing Super Series showcases three weight classes—bantamweight, super lightweight and cruiserweight—with the quarterfinals round featuring doubleheaders every weekend from October 7 through November 10.