Mairis Briedis: The Unluckiest Man in Boxing
By: Shane Willoughby
Mairis Briedis by many is seen as the number 1 fighter in the cruiserweight division. The former WBC champion has an amazing professional record with 26 wins and a single split decision loss to former undisputed champion Oleksandr Usyk.
At first sight, it may seem as if his resume is far from but, but when you look at some of the names he has defeated it becomes apparent that he is a top fighter. Marco Huck, Manuel Charr, Mike Perez and a controversial knock out over Glowacki, are good names to have on anyone’s resume.
With all that said, Briedis has always been a forgotten entity in the sport by most fans, but now he has become invisible to the governing bodies. This time last year Briedis was on the verge of becoming a unified champion. Less than 9 months later he has zero belts despite the fact that he hasn’t lost.
The WBSS have done tremendous things in boxing and I’m pretty sure they have paid Briedis some heavy purses. However, In my humble opinion, his affiliation with the series has done him a massive disservice in terms of his legacy.
Briedis was the WBC champion and is now the WBC diamond champion, and has been since 2018. The WBC title was vacant for over a year. Any normal organization would have just awarded Briedis the title or given him the opportunity to fight for it.
Instead, the WBC withdrew their title from the WBSS semi-final, which meant when Briedis beat Glowacki he wasn’t about to regain the title he lost the year before. In the WBC’s defence, they had good grounds to withdraw the belt, as the refereeing was more than questionable for that fight.
However, at the time there appeared to be a silver lining, because whilst he wasn’t the WBC champion he did take Glowacki’s WBO belt. However, it was just another chance for the sport to forsake Briedis. Four months later the WBO ordered Briedis to rematch Glowacki despite the fact that they knew he was contractually obligated to the WBSS.
Unfortunately, this meant that Briedis lost his one and only world title. But at least amongst the hardcore boxing fans, Briedis was still considered as the WBC cruiserweight. He has the diamond belt and he theoretically won the WBC title in the semi-final.
Anyone with Common sense will think after all of that, the governing bodies can’t abandon him again. So the WBSS final between Briedis and Dorticos is the perfect opportunity to make a unification and finally award someone the title after almost 2 years of being vacant.
Nope, Ilunga Makabu is now the WBC cruiserweight title after defeating Michal Cieslak. It will take 1,000 years to understand the logic behind that decision. And none of us should be surprised; the only thing consistent about boxing rules is its unpredictability.
To say the Latvian has been dealt a bad hand is an understatement. His last 12 months have been nothing but a mess around. So for the Briedis fans out there, if he does defeat Dorticos in what will be an amazing triumph, don’t celebrate too soon. Expect the IBF to order him to fight Anthony Joshua to keep their belt.
Kalle Sauerland: The Judges Will Have No Favoritism Towards Briedis
By: Shane Willoughby
Ahead of Saturday’s WBSS semi final between Glowacki and Briedis for the WBO and WBC Cruiserweight titles, German promoter Kalle Saurland, is confident the judges won’t be in favour of the home fighter.
Mairis Briedis is a national hero in Latvia; the biggest sports icon in the country. So it is no surprise that the question of bias towards him is brought up, especially as the fights in his home town. However, Saurland stressed that the fight will be completely impartial.
“The officials are not from Latvia. The ring might be in Latvia, but the ring is a ring and as Usyk showed he faught three times away from home in the first one [WBSS]” as confirmed by Saurland.
Whilst it is difficult to believe that judges can be impartial especially when watching modern boxing, Mr Saurland makes a very strong point especially, when Usyk won a close points decision against the Latvian in his backyard.
“The biggest fight that he [Glowacki] has made in my opinion was against Marco Huck and that was also not in Poland, so he shown that he can travel” added Saurland.
Whilst all those points maybe true, it will be interesting to see how well the judges do, when the home supporters are cheering for their guy. Will they be inclined to give any close decision to the pre fight favourite and potential cash cow in the series.
Mairis Briedis is the only fighter who can potentially sell out a venue in a country and is the pre – tournament favourite. In addition to that, the former WBC champion got a favourable decision in his last fight against Noel Gevor.
Many thought that Briedis lost that fight and whilst the fight wasn’t in Latvia, the WBSS couldn’t afford for their only crowd puller to come into the competition off a loss.
All of the speculation and conspiracies are unnecessary and probably carries little substance or truth. If the promoter says a fight will be fair then that is exactly what will happen. When have you ever seen an untruthful boxing promoter?
Dorticos Hoping to Meet Briedis in the Final
By: Shane Willoughby
Yunier Dorticos is hoping to face Mairis Briedis in the final of the World Boxing Super Series if he can get past undefeated Andrew Tabiti.
Dorticos came into the competition as the 2nd seed behind Briedis but the Cuban is hoping to take on the pre-series favourite in the final. How ambitious!
However it is very odd for him to already be looking to the next round, especially, as he has a very game opponent in front of him. Tabiti is more than a strong opponent and has never been on the wrong side of the result.
It will be foolish to look past the American. 17-0 (13 KO’s) is not a record to be over looked and Dorticos and Tabiti is a real 50/50.
The Cuban does have the pedigree and experience at the top level being a former world champion, and is dying to correct the wrongs he made when suffering his only loss; losing his belt to Murat Gassiev last year.
It’s a mystery why Dorticos wants to face the Latvian in the final. Is it because he fancies his chances more against Briedis rather than Glowacki? Or was he just trying to please the Latvian supporters and get them behind him ahead of his bout.
Either way, all will be revealed this Saturday, and whether he will be facing Briedis will not matter if he doesn’t pick up a win, in what will be an exceptional fight.
WBSS on DAZN Preview: Briedis vs. Mikaelian, Glowacki vs. Vlasov
By: Hector Franco
This weekend at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois the World Boxing Super Series will be in full effect with the quarterfinals of the Cruiserweight division portion of the tournament. In the main event, Latvia’s Mairis Briedis (24-1, 18 KOs) will be taking on Germany’s Noel Mikaelian (23-1, 10 KOs) for the WBC cruiserweight diamond belt. Join DAZN free for 30 days and live-stream fight night anywhere!
Fans may remember Briedis for his stint in the first season of the World Boxing Super Series. At the time of the tournament, Briedis was the WBC cruiserweight champion winning the vacant title from former cruiserweight champion Marco Huck in early 2017. Entering the tournament, Briedis was considered one of the tournament favorites including Oleksandr Usyk and Murat Gassiev. In the first round, Briedis won a clear unanimous decision over former heavyweight contender Mike Perez. The Latvian cruiserweight would then go on to face the eventual winner of the tournament in Usyk. Looking back at the level of dominance Usyk has displayed thus far throughout his career, Briedis was able to give the Ukrainian his toughest test falling short in a close majority decision loss.
Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account
Briedis’ ability to give one of the best fighters in the sport a run for their money makes him this year’s tournament favorite this season. Briedis’ opponent, Noel Mikaelian, is not well known in the United States; however, his only defeat came at the hands of Poland’s Krzysztof Wlodarczyk who also participated in last season’s cruiserweight tournament. What will be detrimental to Mikaelian is that he has been inactive for the last 14 months with his last victory coming in September of 2017 against Isiah Thomas. The fight with Briedis will be Mikaelian’s first time-fighting in the United States and just the second time for the Latvian fighter.
For a first-round opponent, it may not get any tougher than having to face Briedis. For that reason, he will be the heavy favorite to advance to the semi-finals.
The main co-feature fight will be another quarterfinal tournament bout in the cruiserweight division featuring former WBO cruiserweight champion Krzysztof Glowacki (30-1, 19 KOs) taking on Russia’s Maksim Vlasov (42-2, 25 KOs). Glowacki is best known for his exciting, action-packed style that has provided fans with some of the best cruiserweight fights of this era. The Polish fighter’s 2015 bout with Marco Huck was one of the best fights of that year and showed that he could bounce back from being knocked down earlier on to come back to win by knockout. As is the case with a vast majority of top cruiserweights, Glowacki’s only blemish on his record stems from a bout with Usyk in September 2016.
Glowacki’s opponent Vlasov has fought as low as the middleweight division with his last defeat coming at the hands of current WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez in 2015. Since then, Vlasov has won 12 fights in a row with ten of those victories by way of stoppage. The only other defeat on Vlasov’s record is against light heavyweight contender Isaac Chilemba. Needless, to say that while Vlasov has not faced the elite at cruiserweight the gap in competition between him and Glowacki is not as extensive as one would think.
The city of Chicago has one of the largest Polish immigrant populations in the United States, and as seen in his fights with Huck and Steve Cunningham, Glowacki will have a large contingent of supporters in the arena. Fans in attendance can expect an action-packed battle between Glowacki and Vlasov who are the same age (32) and will continue the international rivalry between Russia and Poland.
The fights will stream live on DAZN this Saturday, November 10th at 8:00 pm ET.
World Boxing Super Series Featuring Glowacki and Briedis Headed to Chicago
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.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Prograis, DeGale, Beltran, Briedis, Smith, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of June 26th to July 4th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Briedis Faces Deslaurier on Usyk-Gassiev Undercard
Mairis Briedis, Ali Trophy Final Cruiserweight Substitute Fighter, meets Brandon Deslaurier, on the Usyk-Gassiev undercard July 21 at the Olimpiyskiy Arena in Moscow, Russia.
“I can’t wait to fight again,” said Briedis (23-1, 18 KOs). “I’m looking forward to a quality World Boxing Super Series event and I am sure that the 21st of July will make a great night of boxing for the fans in Moscow and all over the world.”
The former WBC World Champion won his quarter-final in the quest for the Muhammad Ali Trophy against Mike Perez by unanimous decision and continued to face top-seed Usyk.
The Latvian sports hero did not fail to impress in a ‘Fight Of The Year’-contender as the semi-final was dubbed.
Briedis was defeated in a close and thrilling contest and gave what Usyk called; ‘the toughest fight of my career.’
The 33-year-old will be on standby to enter the final in Moscow in the unlikely scenario of one of the original participants being unable to compete.
In his fight on the Moscow undercard, Briedis is up against France’s Brandon Deslaurier (11-1-1, 1 KO).
“I’m very excited to come to Russia and compete against a world class fighter like Mairis Briedis. But people must not underestimate me. I am coming to Russia to win and beat Mairis Briedis,” said Deslaurier.
Everything is on the line for Aleksandr Usyk and Murat Gassiev in the Ali Trophy Cruiserweight Final in Moscow: The winner in Moscow on July 21 will be the first one ever to take home the Muhammad Ali Trophy. The first cruiserweight ever to unify the titles in the four-belt era. The winner will also add RING Magazine’s vacant cruiserweight championship belt.
Prograis and Velasco Competing for Place in Ali Trophy Tournament
The winner of WBC Interim World Champion Regis Prograis vs top challenger Juan Jose Velasco on July 14 will enter the 140lb edition of the second season of the World Boxing Super Series.
29-year-old Prograis (21-0, 18 KOs), the Houston resident who relocated from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, won the WBC Interim 140-pound World Championship in March after a sensational second round TKO-victory over former titleholder Julius Indongo from Namibia.
“My biggest asset is my hunger to be the best. I have a chip on my shoulder and I want to prove to everybody I am the best at 140 lbs,” said Prograis.
The undefeated southpaw, known for his fan-friendly style inspired by idols such as Roberto Duran and Pernell Whitaker, is confident that he will enter the tournament.
“I’m definitely excited to enter into the tournament. This is great for boxing. The best fighting the best.”
31-year-old Velasco (20-0, 12 KOs), from Buenos Aires, Argentina, will challenge the Interim WBC World Super Lightweight Champion in Prograis’ birthplace of New Orleans, Louisiana on July 14. Velasco already sees himself as an Ali Trophy participant:
“It’s a great honour and I look forward to competing for the Muhammad Ali Trophy and winning the whole thing. I think the format is set up well,” said Velasco, also known as ‘El Pitbull’. “The best fight the best in the World Boxing Super Series to determine one champ. Great!”
Said Kalle Sauerland, Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer: “Prograis is an exciting athlete capable of catapulting his status to new heights of sporting glory in the Ali Trophy tournament. He is facing Velasco, a tough challenger. We are sure of one thing: another belt will enter the Ali Trophy tournament!”
Three weight classes will feature in Season II of the World Boxing Super Series with two categories, Bantamweight and Super Lightweight, already announced.
DeGale Vacates IBF Title
Two-Time IBF World Super-Middleweight Champion James DeGale MBE has today relinquished his title as he closes in on securing big-fights in the final phase of his illustrious ring career.
DeGale, a former British and European Champion, has ruled the 168 pound division split over two reigns as World Champion totalling almost three years and has been involved in six IBF World Championship contests.
The Londoner is proud to have held the organisation’s prestigious and famous red and gold World Title belt that has been worn by many of the great fighters at the weight including legends Joe Calzaghe and Roy Jones Jnr.
DeGale began his first reign as IBF World Champion in May 2015 by making history to become Britain’s first ever Olympic Champion to win a world title when he sensationally defeated Andre Dirrell in Boston to claim the vacant belt.
The trail-blazing Londoner then continued his campaign across the Atlantic to gain respect from the media and fans’ as he made the first successful defence of the title against former IBF World Champion Lucian Bute in Canada in November that year.
In April 2016, DeGale returned to the U.S to make the second defence of the title against tough Mexican Rogelio Medina in Washington which he won on a majority decision.
DeGale then aimed to solidify his dominance of the 168 pound division by attempting to unify his IBF title against WBC World Champion Badou Jack in January 2017 in Brooklyn, New York. In an electrifying, all-action fight, DeGale retained his title by way of controversial draw that many felt DeGale had won.
A British homecoming world title defence against American Caleb Truax in December 2017 was ruined after DeGale lost his title on a points decision in a below par performance. He later admitted it was because he returned to the ring too soon after having career saving surgery to his shoulder following the Jack fight.
However, DeGale proved his champion’s heart by facing Truax in his backyard for the rematch in April this year in Las Vegas when he reclaimed the title with a dominant display to win clearly on the judges’ scorecards.
DeGale was due to be involved in a purse bid for his IBF mandated title defence against Interim Champion Jose Uzcategui this Thursday (5th July), but has now withdrawn.
DeGale said, “No World champion easily gives up their World title that they’ve earned the hard way in the ring and I’ve proudly held the IBF World title in two reigns with pride and distinction which is why it makes it very hard decision to relinquish the belt. It has been a pleasure to work with the IBF and I would like to thank president Daryl Peoples for allowing me to challenge and hold the distinguished belt that so many of the division’s great champions have held before for me. It has been a honour to be recognised as the IBF World Champion and I hope that by now vacating it will ease the transition to determine a successor between the Interim champion Jose Uzcategui and the next highly ranked available contender. I’ve achieved so much in my career, Olympic Gold, British, European and International titles and two-time World Champion and I believe I’m at the top of my game right now. I’m in the final phase of my career where I have a few good years left where I can be involved in massive fights and really leave a legacy in the division’s history. My team have been working very hard behind the scenes and we’ve got some very big and exciting news to announce soon.”
WBO News: Top Rank Wins the Beltran-Andreev Purse Bid
This afternoon, at the World Boxing Organization (WBO) headquarters in Puerto Rico, the purse bid for the mandatory fight between WBO Lightweight World Champion Raymundo Beltrán (35-7-1 , 21 KOs), from Mexico, and first-ranked Roman Andreev (21-0, 15 KOs), from Russia.
Top Rank won the rights for the fight with a successful bid of $ 252,000. Top Rank Vice President Carl Moretti, personally presented the winning bid. The fight is scheduled for Saturday, August 25 in Phoenix, Arizona.
The OMB exhorted both Top Rank and other promoters to submit their boxers to doping controls, not only immediately prior to and after the title fights, but throughout the entire training phase of both combatants.
Joe Smith Jr. Returns with Devastating KO at Mohegan Sun
Returning to the ring after an 11-month layoff due to a broken jaw, Joe “The Beast” Smith, Jr. provided early fireworks last night (Saturday, June 30) in the latest installment in the popular “Slugfest at The Sun” series, presented by Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing, at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
“Slugfest at The Sun” was taped live and will air July 19, 8 -10 p.m. ET, on New England Sports Network (NESN). Star Boxing’s next event, “Rockin’ Fights”, September 21 at the Paramount in Huntington, NY, will also air via tape- delay on NESN.
Rated No. 3 and No. 7 in the world, respectively, by the World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Association (WBA), Smith (24-2, 20 KOs) hurt Melvin “The Romantic Redneck” Russell (11-5-2, 7 KOs) with the first punch he landed and finished the show, two devastating knockdowns later, in the opening round.
“I hit him with a decent shot when I was walking him down and saw that I hurt him,” Joe Smith Jr. explained. “So, I looked to end it. I would have liked to have gotten some rust off, but I’m happy with my performance. My jaw feels great.”
“We’re looking to go to the top,” Smith’s promoter Joe DeGuardia stated. “Joe’s plan and goal has always been to be world champion. We wanted (Sergey) Kovalev before this fight, but it didn’t work out. We’re hoping to get him in the fall.”
“Kovalev looks great, he motivates me,” Smith noted. “I think I can take advantage of his conditioning.”
Coming off her historic fight this past May against the undefeated Queen of Boxing Cecelia Breakhus, who won a 10-round decision in the first female fight to air on HBO, three-time world champion Kali “KO Mequinonoag” Reis (14-7-1, 4 KOs) cruised past Mexican welterweight Patty “Las Elegante” Ramirez (11-6, 5 KOs), a former world title challenger, winning all eight rounds.
“She was a survivor,” Reis commented. “There was a lot we wanted to work on, body shots, jabs and more … getting more comfortable. I executed the plan my corner gave me and got the job done.
A Native American from Rhode Island, Reis wants a rematch with Breakhus, “I know I need to stay busy, active and remain fighting at welterweight to get the rematch,” Reis added. “I’m going to stay on her tail. I’ll be ready when it happens, I really want it to happen.”
In the television opener, undefeated junior welterweight “Action” Anthony Laureano (8-0 3KO’s) lived up to his nickname, never taking a backwards step, as he pounded Juan Rodriguez (8-10-1 6KO’s) in the center of the ring from the opening bell through the end for a dominant six-round unanimous decision. The 2016 New England Golden Gloves champion Laureano, who fights out East Hartford, CT, put on an entertaining show in front of his large, loud contingent of fans. Laureano effectively used every punch in his vast arsenal to break down a tough, game Rodriguez.
“I thought I did well,” Laureano said after the fight, “but I’d like to see more angles. I want to see more power, too. It’s there, he felt it; it’s coming. I have a long road. Next fight, I’d like to have an eight-rounder. We’re adding more people to the team. I hope everyone see that I’m getting better each fight. I have more tools and my discipline is there.”
Undefeated junior middleweight Wendy “Haitian Fire” Toussaint (9-0, 3 KOs) lit up an overwhelmed Andy Gonzalez (6-3, 5 KOs), battering him from pillar to post, until referee Steve Willis waved off the fight in the third round. Haiti-native Toussaint, now living in Huntington, NY, used his superior power and speed to make an impressive statement.
Popular South Boston southpaw Joe Farina (3-0, 2 KOs) overcame a flash knockdown during the opening seconds of the fight, using a relentless attack to defeat junior welterweight Steve Moore (1-4, 1 KO), by way of a four-round split decision.
Irish junior welterweight “Lethal” Larry Fryers (formerly known as Gleeson) improved his record to 7-1 (2 KOs) with a six-round unanimous decision over Anthony Woods (1-7-1). Fighting out of Yonkers NY, Fryers floored Woods with a left hook at the end of round two. Woods was penalized a point near the end of the final round for an intentional head butt.
Former U. of New Haven basketball star Cassius Chaney (13-0, 7 KOs), fighting out of New London (CT), kept his undefeated record intact, dropping Mexican heavyweight Elder Hernandez (5-3, 3 KOs) twice before referee Willis halted the match near the end of the opening round.
The opening bout of the evening ended in the second round and ruled a “No Contest” because of an accidental head butt that left both fighters — William “The Silent Assassin” Foster III (8-0, 6 KOs) and Tyrome Jones (4-3-1, 1 KO) – with serious head cuts and unable to continue.
WBSS Preview: Oleksandr Usyk v Mairis Briedis
By: Ste Rowen
The World Boxing Super Series gets back underway on the 27th January as Latvia holds host to the first semi-final between WBC champion Mairis Briedis, 23-0 (18KOs) and WBO champion Olesksandr Usyk 13-0 (11KOs).
It will be Riga-born Mairis Briedis’ second consecutive fight in his home city after he dominated Mike Perez to a unanimous decision in his quarter final back in September.
Despite the awkward way the Perez fight played out, speaking at the first face-off between the two fighters, Briedis seemed confident that the bout would match up with the raucous atmosphere expected in Arena Riga,
‘It is one of my dreams as a fighter to be part of one of the greatest fights of all time. I hope this fight will be a hall of fame fight. It has all the ingredients to become a classic.’
On the raised stakes with each fight he’s a part of, Mairis replied,
‘I don’t think of anything outside of boxing so right now I’m doing my job… When the fight is done we will talk about other stuff that is not pure boxing.’
The enigmatic Usyk was in confident mood as always. It will be the Ukrainian’s 5th consecutive fight away from his home country and his 4th title defence since defeating then unbeaten Krzysztof Glowacki in Poland back in 2016.
‘There wasn’t an arena suitable to host this event in Ukraine but that’s not a problem… This is a unification bout; two world champions are facing each other so it doesn’t matter where the fight is taking place, it could even be on the moon. The most important thing is what’s happening in the ring.’
Asked about his travelling support, the WBO champion said,
‘Who knows? There is definitely interest in Ukraine and there is always fans when I am fighting abroad… 50/50 split.’
The 2012 Olympic gold medallist progressed to the semi-finals courtesy of a 10th round stoppage of Marco Huck. It was a particularly impressive victory coming off the back of two laboured wins over American, Michael Hunter and fellow southpaw, Thabiso Mchunu.
The second semi-final between Murat ‘Iron’ Gassiev and Yunier ‘The KO Doctor’ Dorticos takes place in Sochi, Russia a week later. All four remaining fighters go into the semi-finals unbeaten with a combined record of 83-0 (68KOs).
Reminder: If any of the fights are scored a draw across the three judges, a fourth judge will be called into play to settle who progresses to the much anticipated final, set to take place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in May this year.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Seldin, Usyk, Briedis, Estrada, Shields, Rungvisai, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of December 5th to December 12th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Star Boxing/Nick Sideris
Cletus “The Hebrew Hammer” Seldin Returns to HBO in Back to Back Months Usyk-Briedis Semi-Final Tickets for WBSS on Sale
Tickets for the Ali Trophy semi-final bout in the cruiserweight edition of the World Boxing Super Series between WBO World Champion Aleksandr Usyk (13-0, 11 KOs) and WBC World Champion Mairis Briedis (23-0, 18 KOs) are on sale now via bilesuserviss.lv with prices starting at €50.
This biggest Cruiserweight unification fight for several years, takes place at the Arena Riga in Latvia on 27 January 2018.
Ukrainian Usyk has promised a night to remember for boxing fans at the arena and around the world: “Fans at the arena and in front of their TV’s can look forward to a beautiful and interesting battle between two world champions.”
Said Briedis: “I can’t wait to hear the noise of the devoted Latvian fans again. I will prepare myself over the next weeks to give them a show against Usyk.”
Tickets for Usyk vs Briedis start at €50 and are on sale now via bilesuserviss.lv
Women’s Boxing Superstar Claressa Shields to Hold Public Media Workout
WBC and IBF Super middleweight World Champion Claressa “T-Rex” Shields (4-0, 2 KOs) to defend titles against former world champion and undefeated mandatory challenger Tori Nelson (17-0-3, 2 KOs) on Friday, January 12, in the main event of ShoBox: The New Generation live at 10 p.m. ET/PT from Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY; Presented by Salita Promotions
Shields, her trainers, and Salita Promotions’ founder, Dmitriy Salita, will be available for photographs and interviews.
Tuesday, December 12 – OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!
12:00 p.m. ET – Media Arrival
12:15 p.m. ET – Workout Begins
Kronk Boxing Community Center
9520 Mettetal St,
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai vs. Juan Francisco Estrada Set for February 24th Live on HBO
Following the overwhelming success from the first SUPERFLY event this past September, Tom Loeffler’s 360 Promotions in association with Nakornluong Promotions and Zanfer Promotions is proud to announce the highly anticipated second installment, SUPERFLY 2, set for Saturday, February 24 at the Forum in Los Angeles, CA televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT.
SUPERFLY 2 will be headlined by WBC Super Flyweight World Champion SRISAKET SOR RUNGVISAI, (44-4-1, 40 KO’s), of Si Sa Ket, Thailand, defending his title over 12-rounds for the second time against former world champion and #1 ranked mandatory challenger JUAN FRANCISCO “El Gallo” ESTRADA, (36-2, 25 KO’s), of Sonora, Mexico.
Advance tickets for SUPERFLY 2, priced at $250, $150, $100, $60 and $30 will go On-Sale Tuesday, December 12 at 12:00 p.m. PT and can be purchased through Ticketmaster (Ticketmaster.com, 1-800-745-3000) and the Forum Box Office. The Forum is located at 3900 W. Manchester Blvd, Inglewood CA 90305.
“It’s very exciting to announce the main event for the second installment of our SUPERFLY series. With the tremendous response from fans and media from our first event and overwhelming anticipation to our second, we join boxing fans in saying that we ‘can’t wait’ until February 24 at the Forum,” said Loeffler.
“Srisaket Sor Rungvisai had a remarkable year in 2017 upsetting ‘Chocolatito’ by controversial decision on March 18, 2017 at Madison Square Garden for the WBC Super Flyweight Title and decisively defeating him again in his first defense on September 9 at the Stubhub Center at our first SUPERFLY event.”
“Juan Francisco Estrada won a terrific fight against Carlos Cuadras on September 9 at the Stubhub Center and is very anxious to challenge for a world title in the super flyweight division against Sor Rungvisai.”
“The Forum has played host to many nights of memorable battles for more than 40 years and we expect this event to be another chapter in the annals of this iconic venue.”
Said Fernando Beltran, President of Zanfer Promotions, “On February 24 our talented and pride of Mexico, Juan Francisco “Gallo” Estrada will show that he is the best flyweight in the world by beating the WBC Champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in another great night at SUPERFLY 2.”
“HBO has given us a great opportunity to showcase the smaller divisions and the fans will be very happy to see it. If SUPERFLY 1 was a great night of quality boxing and action, I am sure that SUPERFLY 2 will surpass it.”
Mauricio Sulaiman of the World Boxing Council stated, “SUPERFLY 2 must be celebrated as it will bring excitement to boxing fans and it marks the return of real boxing promotion as this concept has found great interest around the world. It is great to see that the smaller weight divisions receive this type of opportunities to shine on the biggest stage of the world for boxing. The WBC fully supports SUPERFLY 2 and looks forward to this spectacular night of boxing.”
Said Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, “The super flyweight division is the deepest division in the world at the moment. I have great respect to Tom Loeffler and HBO for making SUPERFLY so successful, and SUPERFLY 2 will continue to deliver. We have so many great fighters in the super flyweight division, and it is exciting for me because there are many world class opponents that can make terrific fights.”
“Juan Francisco Estrada is definitely among the top-class fighters in our division. When someone is a former unified champion that moved up without losing his titles, you know he is a world class fighter in his prime. However, I am confident that I will be successful in this fight because I will be at my best on fight night again. We will give the fans an incredible fight and I plan on another impressive win.”
“I would like to invite all Thais in the United States, especially those in Los Angeles to attend my fight at the Forum on February 24. Together our Thai hearts will beat and our Thai blood will be pumped with pride and excitement. Let’s show the world our Thai power together on that day!”
Said Estrada, “I am very excited about facing Sor Rungvisai for the WBC Super Flyweight World Title on February 24 at the Forum. He will be a difficult challenge as he defeated Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez twice in a row with a vicious KO in their last fight. Sor Rungvisai is a very tough and skilled boxer so I will have to prepare very well to be ready to challenge him for his belt.”
The 30-year-old Sor Rungvisai made his United States debut on March 18 shocking the boxing world with a 12-round majority decision over then undefeated and consensus #1 pound-for-pound fighter Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez at Madison Square Garden. Dropping Gonzalez in the first stanza, Sor Rungvisai would capture the WBC Super Flyweight World Title in a hotly contested battle that had the massive crowd on their feet throughout.
Rematching Gonzalez on September 9 at The Stubhub Center, Sor Rungvisai would drop the four-division world champion twice in the fourth round, the second resulting in Sor Rungvisai being awarded the knockout stoppage erasing any controversy from the first fight.
Sor Rungvisai also previously held the WBC Super Flyweight World Title defending it once before losing the title to Carlos Cuadras on a technical decision on May 31, 2014. Sor Rungvisai had won the title in his hometown of Si Sa Ket, Thailand on May 3, 2013 by knocking out champion Yota Sato in the eighth round.
Known for his true ‘Mexican Style’ of fighting, Juan Francisco Estrada has remained one of the most popular fighters in the flyweight and super flyweight divisions throughout his nine-year professional career.
The 27-year-old Estrada won the WBC and WBA Flyweight World Titles on April 6, 2013 with a 12-round decision victory over Brian Viloria in Macau, China. Estrada defended both titles six times before moving up to the super flyweight division.
At the inaugural Superfly event on September 9, Estrada fought brilliantly in winning a 12-round unanimous decision over former WBC Super Flyweight World Champion Carlos Cuadras at the Stubhub Center.
Estrada has not lost a fight in over six years. On November 17, 2012, he challenged then WBC Flyweight World Champion Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez, losing a very close, 12-round decision at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.
Champs Celebrate the Holidays with our US Veterans
This past Tuesday, WBC Cares gathered together with local Champions and fighters from the Los Angeles community to fulfill a promise WBC made to the Veterans Home in Barstow earlier this year, to come spend a Holiday Lunch with our U.S. Veterans, our Heroes. Due to the California Wildfires, a few couldn’t make it because of road closures, but we still had great attendance from Champions and WBC Cares Ambassadors, like Golden Boy’s NABF Featherweight Champion, Joseph “Jo Jo” Diaz Jr., WBA World Super Bantamweight Champion Daniel Roman, Former World Champion Paul Banke, Former World Championship Contenders Ruben Castillo and Mando Muniz, Professional fighter and Officer for L.A.P.D., Juan Bustamente, Cutman Sergio Estrada and lastly the WBC Los Angeles team, Pepe & Cecy Sulaiman, Nancy Rodriguez & kids.
President Mauricio Sulaiman, and WBC Cares Chairperson Jill Diamond wanted to make sure our heroes received a special gift, the WBC presented all Veterans with an official WBC patch personalized with “CAL VETERANS” as well as a special plaque for the Veterans Home presented by Pepe Sulaiman to the Home administrator.
The visit started with our WBC Cares Ambassadors Daniel Roman, Joseph Diaz Jr. Juan Bustamante, Marissa Rodriguez and Ruben Castillo helping serve the veterans and staff a special Holiday Lunch. the Vets had a great time laughing through the line with Ruben Castillo’s jokes and great smiles behind the kitchen line, while the rest of the WBC Family Paul Banke, Sergio Estrada, Mando Muniz ate in the cafeteria with the Vets and had great conversations. After the lunch, WBC presented special gifts to all the Vets who answered Boxing questions, some were present as fans for the Ali vs. Frazier fight! Great stories to hear! Pepe Sulaiman then presented the Home with a Plaque in appreciation for all they do for our heroes, the kids and Ambassadors passed out patches as well as a special WBC cake for all present. The visit ended with many photos and autographs for the Veterans and many smiles.
Barstow is over a two hour drive from Los Angeles, the WBC is very grateful to our ambassadors for taking the time to make the drive out to Barstow and helping bring beautiful smiles to our heroes faces this Holiday season.
The World Boxing Super Series Begins
The World Boxing Super Series Begins
By: Matthew N. Becher
Over the past weekend, the newly created World Boxing Super Series held its very first draft, for its very first tournament. The premise of the new tournament is an open competition for any professional boxer that is ranked in the top 15 of the major sanctioning bodies systems.
In theory the best fighters would face off against one another, until the last man was standing, thus making him the #1 boxer in that weight class. Simple. That is the easy part, the hard part is getting the best fighters to all participate in such a tournament, with everyone having different promoters and so forth. Fortunately, it seems to have worked out for the initial Cruiserweight Tournament.
The seeding of the tournament went as follows. The top 4 fighters were ranked 1-4 by the WBSS, with the four belt holders getting the top rankings.
1: Oleksander Usyk (WBO)
2: Murat Gassiev (IBF)
3: Mairis Briedis (WBC)
4: Yunier Dorticos (WBA)
Then from 1-4, the fighter was allowed to pick or draft his opponent from a group of 4 boxers, for their first round fight. (An exception was made for Gassiev, who had a mandatory against Krzysztof Wlodarczyk. That fight was picked for him)
The first round of the tournament looks like this.
Oleksander Usyk (12-0 10KO) v. Marco Huck (40-4-1 27KO)
Murat Gassiev (24-0 17KO) v. Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (53-3-1 37KO)
Mairis Briedis (22-0 18KO) v. Mike Perez (22-2-1 14KO)
Yunier Dorticos (21-0 20KO) v. Dmitry Kudryashov (21-1 21KO)
Literally the best of the best in the Cruiserweight division will be competing against each other, until one is standing with all the belts, the inaugural Muhammad Ali Trophy and possibly a $1 million dollar bonus for advancing though semifinals and the championship round.
The tournament is slated to begin in early September and rap up by Mary of next year. The location of the fights have yet to be determined and will be placed in locations that match up well for each fight.
“To unify a division and spotlight a division that has clearly been underappreciated, even though the fights in the ring are always among the most exciting in the sport, irrespective of the division, that those four champions, if you look at the record – they are all undefeated. Most of their wins, the vast majority have come by knockout. So these are all big punchers, undefeated. I’m really excited,” said Richard Schaefer, the Chairman of the Americas for Comosa, who helped put this field together alongside fellow promoter Kalle Sauerland (the Chief Boxing Officer for Comosa).
This is a very exciting tournament for boxing and especially for the roll out of the new World Boxing Super Series. With formats like this, expect many division to start falling in line and possibly getting to see the best match up against the best in the near future.