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.
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.