By: Hans Themistode
The Cruiserweight division has never been a glamorous one, but the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) is determined to change that notion.
After a long COVID-19 induced delay, the final matchup between IBF belt holder Yuniel Dorticos and former titlist Mairis Briedis is finally taking place in the next few weeks on September 26th. Their contest will have no fans in the arena and the site has not yet been fully determined.
For the two hard hitting big men, they’ve quickly separated themselves from the pack the moment Oleksandr Usyk elected to move up to the heavyweight division in 2019. During the time of his reign which spanned from 2016-2018, Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) dominated the 200 pound landscape. The Ukrainian native became the first man to hold all four belts since Evander Holyfield did roughly 30 years prior.
Before Usyk finished his Cruiserweight collection however, he was given the toughest contest of his career against Breidis (26-1, 19 KOs) in the semi-final of the WBSS in 2018. Usyk, 33, managed to narrowly scrape by with a majority decision win under his belt on the night.
Since Usyk has forgone the Cruiserweight landscape to entertain the monsters at heavyweight, Briedis has emerged as the man to beat. He immediately picked up a secondary title in the WBC Diamond belt following Usyk’s departure.
The Latvian native also took home the WBO title with a third round knockout of former belt holder Krzysztof Glowacki. That win however, was marred in controversy as the referee intervened in their contest and essentially cost Glowacki the matchup.
Although ring rust is always an issue when dealing with a fighter in their mid 30s, Briedis’ opponent on the night in Yuniel Dorticos will also have to shake off the cobwebs.
The 34 year old IBF belt holder hasn’t stepped foot inside of the ring since his 10th round destruction of formerly undefeated contender Andrew Tabiti. The win wrapped up a long hunt for another world title for the Cuban defect.
Dorticos (24-1, 22 KOs) first title run was abruptly dashed away from him in early 2018 at the hands of Murat Gassiev. The two produced a terrific back and forth matchup but unfortunately for Dorticos, his chin cracked under the pressure as he was knocked out in the 12th round.
Now, after both men suffering a pair of devastating lows and championship highs, they’ll meet in just a matter of weeks to decide who will walk away with the Muhammad Ali trophy and the consensus number one spot in the division.