Dorticos-Briedis May Be Best Matchup Of Weekend
By: Sean Crose
The biggest fight that all but the most serious of American boxing fans haven’t even heard of is going down Saturday at the Plazamedia Broadcasting Center in Munich, Germany. For there, Yuniel Dorticos and Mairis Briedis will battle to decide who is the winner of the Cruiserweight World Boxing Super Series, which has been running now for around two years. Covid-19 has, unsurprisingly, pushed back this fight repeatedly. The match will be aired live on ESPN+ here in America starting at 2:30 PM eastern time. The winner will receive the Muhammad Ali trophy and will walk out of the ring in possession of the IBF cruiserweight title belt.
The 24-1 Dorticos likes to employ an overhand right but has the ability to effectively put his punches together. He can also be particularly damaging with an uppercut. Having won all but two of his 24 victories by knockout, it’s clear the man can turn out the lights. In his single loss, Murat Gassiev was able to take advantage of Dortico’s willingness to stand right in front of an opponent, thus making himself an easy target. The fact that Gassiev was able to finish his man during the last minute of the fight showed that Dorticos’ defense left some things to be desired. Dorticos has won two in a row since that time, however, and was able to outright knock out Andrew Tabiti in his last fight.
Briedis has a good overhand right of his own, one which has allowed him to score highlight reel knockouts. Against Manuel Charr, he also showed that he could lay out someone who was moving him back (A lesson for Charr – if someone wants to shake hands, shake hands.). Yet Oleksandr Usyk showed what a nuanced defense could do against Briedis, as he made himself responsible for Briedis’ only loss to date.
Frankly, this has the makings of a very entertaining fight. In fact, it has the makings to be the most entertaining bout in a very boxing-heavy weekend. When one considers the level of matchup Dorticos-Briedes is, that’s really saying something. Ultimately, I think this is all going to come down to the little things. This is the sort of scenario where one small mistake can lead to either man being counted out by the referee. Each fighter really has to bring his A- game and not get lazy in there. Consistency in the ring will be the key to victory for both men.
Yuniel Dorticos vs Mairis Briedis Officially Set To Take Place On September 26th In Germany
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.
Is This the Last Season of the World Boxing Super Series?
By: Shane Willoughby
Since Kalle Sauerland launched the World Boxing Super Series we have seen some fantastic fights. It has created unified champions, undisputed champions and fight fans have got what they have always wished for, the best fighting the best.
The entire Cruiserweight division would have been null and void of attention and coverage if it wasn’t for the tournament.
But with all that said their financial problems over the past few years are no secret. The series have struggled to maintain what is obviously an extremely high budget.
Last year there was a massive pause on the tournament, and allegedly many fighters from this season hadn’t been paid. It appeared that the World Boxing Super Series may have gone bust.
However, when DAZN launched they quickly added the series to their platform, which meant they received a flood of money and they were able to keep the series going.
Since then we have seen this season continue with the Cruiserweight, Bantamweight and Light Welterweight division. The final for all of those divisions will take place between October and December.
So it appeared all the WBSS financial situations where over, and when there were rumours going around that Sergey Kovalev was looking to join the next season, things were looking bright.
However, recently Regis Prograis and his team filled a lawsuit against the organisation, as the organisation have allegedly failed to live up to the contract.
The lawsuit has now been drop and the fight between Josh Taylor and Regis Prograis is now on but, there are quite a few signs of turbulence once again.
It wouldn’t be unrealistic to think that Prograis issues were to do with money. Because let’s be honest the fight between Prograis and Taylor wouldn’t have happened unless Sky Sports and Matchroom didn’t put the money up.
Without that fight going on a Matchroom card, the final of the WBSS at super lightweight wouldn’t have happened. Whilst that fight is now safe and secure what about the future fights.
Eddie Hearn and Adam Smith can’t keep saving the WBSS and putting their fights on Matchroom cards. Or can they? Maybe Kalle Sauerland and Hearn go into business together because they do have a great relationship and it’s hard to see how the WBSS continues without the backing of a major promotional company.
However, if that doesn’t happen it’s hard to see how the series continues with their ever-present problem with money. This will be a shame because they have done fantastic for boxing and the sport needs a tournaments like this.
Regis Prograis Pulls Out Of Tournament Final and Enters Legal Battle
By: Hans Themistode
The World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) tournament has yet another issue on its hands as WBA Super Lightweight title holder Regis Prograis has pulled out of the final bout of the tournament. Prograis, an undefeated, New Orleans born native, was scheduled to take on fellow undefeated belt holder Josh Taylor.
Instead, Prograis has not only pulled himself from the final but he has also filed a suit against the organizer of the tournament Comosa AG, which is a Swiss company. Earlier this year former IBF belt holder Ivan Baranchyk, pulled himself from the tournament because of several delays that took place. He would later re-enter the tournament after receiving warnings of being stripped of his title. Baranchyk subsequently lost his title to Taylor in his next bout.
Prograis has found similar issues with the WBSS and at this point is looking to move on. Along with his manager Lou Di Bella, they both claim that there has been several issues such as late payments, scheduling delays, missed deadlines and slew of other problems.
The WBSS, which is in its second season, was hampered by financial complications in its first season as well. Although it did manage to complete its tournaments at both Cruiserweight and Super Middleweight, it took longer than expected.
The current WBA belt holder has been spectacular in his run to the tournament final. Behind the scenes however, he has had issues with the tournament organizers which until now, we’re not revealed to the public.
According to Prograis, after securing his quarterfinal win against Terry Flanagan, he attempted to collect the money that was owed to him but was not compensated for more than a month. Originally, he believed that he would be compensated within a week.
There has also been back and forth deliberations of when and where his next bout would take place. It was thought that October 5th in the United Kingdom would be the official date and location for his contest but that has yet to be confirmed.
Issues such as these has forced the hand of both Prograis and Di Bella. The WBSS is seemingly coming to an end in the Super Lightweight division and unfortunately for everyone involved, it is an unsatisfying ending.
Inoue’s Popularity Continues to Grow
By: Blaine Henry
The World Boxing Super Series finals is rapidly approaching. With title fights in bantamweight, cruiserweight, and super-lightweights, one of the biggest cards of the year is upon us.
The Ring magazine has revealed their latest issue featuring Nayoa Inoue in manga style art work. The cover shows the WBSS undefeated superstar as depicted by George Morikawa, a renowned manga artist.
Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account
Inoue has made waves in the boxing world during the WBSS finals. He’s won both of his fights in the tournament in spectacular fashion. With a first round knockout of Juan Carlos Payano in his first bout and a second round knockout against Emmanuel Rodríguez, all eyes are on the final matchup between him and Nonito Donaire.
Inoue has become the first ever Japanese boxer to grace the cover of “The Ring” since it’s inception in 1922.
Morikawa is the author and creator of “Hajime no Ippo” (The First Step). It’s a boxing manga series that has sold approximately 100 million copies world wide. With the series gracing television and video games, it’s a great honor for Inoue to be depicted by such an artist.
“Naoya Inoue is a special fighter to me as a fellow Japanese,” says Morikawa as he spoke with Ring Magazine. “I drew the artwork with all my heart as a fan of boxing and a fan of Naoya.”
Naoya was the first ever to drop both of his WBSS opponents. With only 5 minutes and 29 seconds of fight time, Inoue is sure to be well rested for the finals to take home the Muhammad Ali Trophy.
He faces off with “The Filipino Flash,” Nonito Donaire who is also coming off of a fantastic win over Stephon Young in Lafayette, Louisiana in his seminal match. The place is not set yet but should be announced soon.
Also on the card is another fantastic couple of matches. In the super-lightweight division, top two rated boxers, Regis Prograis and Josh Taylor are set to throw down in a fight of epic proportions. The cruiserweights also have a fantastic matchup as Mairis Briedis and Yunier Dorticos get ready to take on each other on the same card.
WBSS Semifinals Preview: Briedis-Glowacki and Dorticos-Tabiti
By Robert Aaron Contreras
It will be an earlier Saturday than usual for fight fans. The semifinals of the second cruiserweight World Boxing Super Series kicks off on DAZN at 2 p.m. ET.
Two matchups will decide the tournament finale as Mairis Briedis hosts the rest of the field from his backyard in Riga, Latvia on June 15. The hometown man battles former world champion Krzysztof Glowacki. And another of the division’s sharpshooters, Yuniel Dorticos meets the undefeated Andrew Tabiti.
All four men are rated among the best in the world, carrying on the tradition of intense matchmaking that has in recent memory defined these most courageous competitors.
Mairis Briedis (25-1, 18 KO) vs. Krzysztof Glowacki (31-1, 19 KO)
This matchup may only technically be the semifinals, but this particular clash could decide who for the time being is the premier fighter in the class. Last season’s WBSS finalists, Oleksandr Usyk and Murat Gassiev, are both set for the land of heavyweights, leaving the WBC and WBO belts up for grabs between Briedis and Glowacki.
Briedis, 35, once held that WBC title. In 2017, he went over to Germany to beat out Marco Huck for the green strap. The Latvian bruiser proved he was more than just a puncher, hardly dropping a round over the championship distance. He became just the second cruiser to defeat Huck at the weight in a decade.
Briedis also undoubtedly gave Usyk the tightest fight of the Ukrainian’s career. And his collection of knockouts is incredible: blowing away a sizable, rough-and-rumble cruiser like Simon Vallily; the physical specimen Olanrewaju Durodola, and lighting up heavyweight Manuel Charr with a single shot—walking backwards and giving up 30 pounds, no less.
Rated No. 1 in the world by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, his last two contests have not been so impressive. In fact, save for a competitive outing against Usyk, Briedis has not looked all that elite since outboxing Huck.
Last time out, Briedis was dealt with an apparent arm injury on his righthand side opposite Noel Gevor. The underdog took advantage and was all over Briedis for 12 rounds. The slippery German transplant touched his man up and down at the end of a rangy, pawing jab and awkward lateral movement. The unanimous decision Briedis received did not go over well on social media.
Gevor though is one of the most underrated boxers around, having been on the wrong end of another set of bad scores against Krzysztof “Diablo” Wlodarczyk. But that does not explain why just before that, Briedis could not get out of first gear in his fight against an unheralded bit player like Brandon Deslaurier.
Over 10 rounds with Deslaurier, Briedis shut out the Frenchman but was lackadaisical throughout. Following his first ever loss, it wasn’t held against him. He did not have that excuse when he met Mike Perez just before that. The pride and joy of Latvia may have a terrible habit of fighting down (or up) to his opponents.
Glowacki, 32, shares a couple common opponents. After all, in the 200-pound division, the créme de la créme are bound to meet each other.
For one, Glowacki also lost to Usyk, giving up his WBO strap in the process. He picked up the alphabet trinket from Huck the year prior in a barnburning affair. The Polish warrior defended the title once, turning away former champion Steve Cunningham. The exhilarating American would touch the canvas four times en route to a clear-cut decision loss to the visiting Glowacki.
Glowacki rattled off five straights victories since that loss to Usyk. Most recently, in the quarterfinals he overpowered Maxim Vlasov, who is equally a terrifying puncher, wining another decision.
Now as the division undergoes transition, Briedis and Glowacki have a chance to separate themselves from the pack. All it could take is one punch.
Yuniel Dorticos (23-1, 21 KO) vs. Andrew Tabiti (17-0, 13 KO)
From the opposite side of the bracket, Cuba’s own “KO Doctor” Dorticos meets Tabiti, from Las Vegas.
Dorticos, 33, has a real reputation for turning in violent slugfests. Though last outing against Mateusz Masternak did not fit the bill, Masternak has a way of sucking the life out of a fight. Dorticos still out-dueled the perennial contender, who is always a difficult out.
As part of the first WBSS tournament, Dorticos was pushed as far as a man can be, hammering away at Gassiev, and receiving it back just as harshly for almost a complete 12 rounds until a volley of right hands sent him through the ropes.
Never one to back down from a massive puncher, Dorticos slaughtered Dmitry Kudryashov in just two rounds. And before that, ditched the warmongering Youri Kalenga in a brutal 10 rounds. It is a division that allows for few easy touches.
Tabiti, though, unlike most of the blue-collar field, does have ritzy promotional backing behind him. Partnered with Mayweather Promotions, the 29-year-old American trains regularly with Floyd Mayweather Sr. And it shows, utilizing that calculated, “Money” Mayweather approach in the ring. But the reserved style has come close to backfiring.
In Tabiti’s previous bout, he was lucky to escape with a points win over the little known Ruslan Fayfer. The Russian journeyman matched Tabiti in output and was on his heels until the final bell.
All told, the work at the Mayweather Gym has helped Tabiti remain undefeated, served a gradual rise in competition from fellow upstarts (Keith Tapia) and gatekeepers (Lateef Kayode) to former champions (Steve Cunningham) and now the biggest test of his career in Dorticos.
The IBF championship is on the line, and bigger yet is the tourney finale for the Muhammad Ali trophy, which represents something more rare than the cash prize of millions and millions of dollars: the helm of the entire division.
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.
Taylor Becomes IBF champ as Inoue Dismantles Rodriguez
By: Michael Kane
Josh Taylor is the new IBF Super Lightweight world champion after a dominant display against Ivan Baranchyk in the semi-final of the World Boxing Super Series in Glasgow.
In a night which saw Naoya Inoue put on a dazzling performance in his bantamweight semi-final bout against IBF champion Manny Rodriguez, the roof nearly came off the SSE Hydro Arena as Taylor was proclaimed IBF king.
The fight started off with Taylor working behind the jab and Baranchyk looking to land big body shots. Taylor was looking impressive working at range.
As the rounds went on Taylor abandoned his distance game and stood toe to toe with the Belarussian, with Baranchyk winning the 5th. The 6th started with Baranchyk landing some good body shots however the tide turned as Taylor landed a great shot to head that had Baranchyk on the floor. He got up quick only for Taylor to apply more pressure and have Baranchyk down once more to send the Glasgow crowd wild.
Baranchyk weathered that storm and was able to apply some pressure of his own and probably picked up the 9th round. He looked like he still could cause Taylor some problems.
All Taylor had to do as we moved into the 12th round was work at distance however the last 30 seconds of the rounds both boxers stood in the centre of the circle and traded shots.
As the final bell rang, Taylor was thrust in the air by his coach Shane McGuigan as the Glasgow fans waited expectantly for the decision.
The crowd were not to be disappointed as scores of 117-109, 115-111 and 115-111 would give the Scot a deserved unanimous decision win and Scotland a new world champion.
Taylor now moves on to the final and will face American Regis Prograis, the WBA Super champion, with both belts up for grabs.
Taylor said of the clash, “I feel I’m the best, he feels hes the best. We both did the job to get to the finals. I feel I’ll win the fight quite comfortable, I’m sure he believes the same.” Before leading the crowd in a rendition of Flower of Scotland.
— World Boxing Super Series (@WBSuperSeries) May 18, 2019
In the other world title fight on the card, the Japanese superstar and WBA Regular champion Naoya Inoue would add Manny Rodriguez’ IBF bantamweight title.
Rodriguez was clearly unfancied among the Glasgow public, with some jeers from the crowd, Inoue on the other hand entered the arena as if he was one of Scotland’s own.
The first round started with both fighters landing some nice shots, Inoue landed several body shots that already looked like they could hurt Rodriguez.
It was to be all over in the second as not once, not twice but three times Inoue would have Rodriguez on the canvas as he worked the Puerto Rican’s body.
Rodriguez was widely expected to be Inoue’s toughest test to date but ‘The Monster’ blew yet another opponent away in an awe inspiring performance.
Inoue will now face 4 weight world champion Nonito Donaire in the final.
The Second Series of the Cruiserweight WBSS Proves Belts Matter
By: Ste Rowen
There we were, now here we are. This time last year Yunier Dorticos had KO’d an unbeaten Kudryashov, Mairis Briedis had bored us through twelve rounds against Mike Perez, Murat Gassiev had cut Wlodarczyk down with a body shot that could be felt through the TV screen and Aleksandr Usyk had dealt with a boisterous Marco Huck.
Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account
Hand on heart right now, could you say for definite whether there had been a knockout in the quarter-finals of the second series of cruiserweights in the World Boxing Super Series? Did you even know the cruiserweights were in the second series?
The problem is belts. As beautiful as it is to see one man draped in every single piece of boxing jewellery, as in the case of Usyk, the lack of belts or obvious rewards in the WBSS cruiserweight fights this year is so evident and is killing the hype.
So far this season big fights have been made and completed. Former WBC titlist and first season Super Series semi-finalist, Mairis Briedis has decisioned Noel Mikaeljan, former WBO champ, Krzysztof Glowacki dominated the Russian, Maksim Vlasov, Andrew ‘The Beast’ Tabiti, for all his talent, bored an Ekaterinburg crowd to a drab 12-round victory over Ruslan Fayfer and in the best of the bouts, Yunier Dorticos of Cuba slugged it out with former European champion, Mateusz Masternak.
The semi-finals are currently, Dorticos vs. Tabiti and Briedis vs. Glowacki, set to take place in early 2019. For the boxing purist, these are two exceptional fights to be made in a division living in the shadow of the Ukrainian supremo that is Usyk, who recently finished his ‘Fighter of the Year’ 2018 with a knockout of hopeful, Tony Bellew; but the 200lb limit division, and the second series of the Super Series is still steeped in talent even without the undisputed champ, and yet without the glitter on show such as, the WBC belt Briedis used to hold, or the WBO that Glowacki was once the champion of, the show is just lacking that key element that fans come out for, or watch on tv to see – The immediate reward. A champion lifting aloft a recognised, and respected title at the end of a fight.
For now, casual fans will overlook the second season of cruiserweights unless they’re on the same card as say, the bantamweight-semi-final of the newly crowned, WBA champion Nonito Donaire vs. WBO titlist, Zolani Tete. Maybe, by the cruiserweight’s final, there will be vacant belts left behind by Usyk moving up to the heavyweight division, but the keyword is ‘vacant’. And maybe it won’t matter that history will show the belts as vacant, but that was the beauty of the first series, and the perfection that lies in the bantamweight version of the Super Series, a feeling of finality. That when the final comes around and is won and lost, the man who lifts the Muhammad Ali Trophy above their head is actually worthy of having their name next to ‘The Greatest’. The current feeling with this season of cruiserweights is that this isn’t the case. Let’s hope for at least a knockdown in the semi-finals.
WBSS Results: Glowacki and Briedis Advance
By: Hector Franco
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – At the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois the World Boxing Super Series came to town to finish their final portion of the quarterfinals in their second season of the tournament.
The main event featured former WBO cruiserweight champion Krzysztof Glowacki (31-1, 19 KOs) taking on Russia’s Maksim Vlasov (42-3, 25 KOs). The fight would be for the interim WBO cruiserweight championship. The city of Chicago has one of the highest populations of Polish citizens in the United States, and plenty of Polish fans showed up to support Glowacki.
The southpaw Glowacki is not a complicated fighter as his intentions in a boxing ring is to turn the boxing match into a fight. It would be no different against Vlasov as the Polish fighter imposed his will on the Russian in every round throwing punches in combination and landing some brutal body punches. A knockdown was scored in favor of Glowacki in the third round after Vlasov fell to the canvas after an exchange. In a replay it did not look like a punch landed cleanly; however, referee Celestino Ruiz saw a punch thrown and thus scored it a knockdown.
The bout followed a similar pattern in each round with Vlasov giving a good account of himself in each round landing an occasional combination on the inside. Each round seemed like Glowacki was just one or two steps ahead of Vlasov giving him the edge in the majority of the rounds.
In the championship rounds, the fight picked up its intensity with both fighters picking up the volume of punches thrown. Despite Glowacki winning the vast majority of the rounds, each round took its toll on the Polish fighter leaving him looking exhausted after twelve rounds.
All three judges scored the fight in favor of Glowacki with scores of 118-110, 117-110 and 115-112. Glowacki will move on the tournament semifinals.
The second bout of the night that was part of the World Boxing Super Series tournament took place between tournament favorite Mairis Briedis (25-1, 18 KOs) and German contender Noel Mikhaelian (23-2, 10 KOs). The match was for the vacant WBC cruiserweight diamond title with the winner advancing to the semi-finals of the tournament.
From the start, the pace of the fight was established that it would be a tactical chess match. Former Cuban amateur coach Pedro Diaz who is best known for training the likes of Miguel Cotto and Guillermo Rigondeaux trains Mikhaelian. The German, Mikhaelian had been out of the ring for 14 months, however, showed little rust throughout the fight. There were many awkward exchanges between the two pugilists with plenty of grabbing, clutching and headbutts throughout. In the fourth round, Mikhaelian was deducted a point for hitting Briedis behind the head.
The first six rounds were nip and tuck with both fighters having their moments; however, Mikhaelian was able to showcase better timing landing right hands on Briedis who had trouble letting his hands go all night. The six foot three German’s jab was a consistent threat throughout the fight throwing off the rhythm and timing of Briedis.
Heading into the championship rounds, the fight was slipping away from Briedis with there not being many clear rounds in his favor. Unfortunately for Briedis in the 10th round, he was deducted a point by referee Guadalupe Garcia for hitting Mikhaelian while holding him in a headlock. The Latvian contingent in attendance became more and more silent as the fight continued.
In the last round, Briedis attempted a final assault on Mikhaelian that may have given him the round. After twelve rounds the judges disagreed with the majority of the viewing audience giving Briedis a controversial unanimous decision win with scores of 116-110, 115-111, and 114-112.
There is a reason that fights are fought in the ring and not on paper. Mikhaelian who was fighting for the first time in the United States was able to push to the limit the fighter most fans had pegged to come out the winner of the tournament. The decision may not have given the German another win on his record, however, with his showing he can expect more opportunities in the future despite the fight being a messy and ugly contest.
It will be interesting to see how the promoters involved in the tournament will handle such a controversial decision.
The main card began with a battle of up and coming cruiserweights with Germany’s Artur Mann (14-0, 8 KOs) facing Russia’s Alexey Zubov (17-1, 9 KOs). Zubov who fights out of Detroit, Michigan donned the infamous gold Kronk Gym trunks in a bout that lived up to the Detroit gym’s infamous gym wars. In the first round, Zubov was dominating by throwing an onslaught of punches on Mann who remained calm and waited for his opportunity to attack. Mann was able to land a right hand and uppercut that hurt Zubov who overstayed his welcome on the inside and was sent down to the canvas. Zubov arose from the knocked down and did not stray away from his game plan to attack Mann. Right as the bell rang to signify the end of the first round, Mann landed another right hand that once again dropped Zubov. The Russian fighter got up from the second knockdown to make it back to his corner.
With the recovery of a comic book superhero, Zubov came out in the second round as if the knockdowns in the first round never occurred. The Russian fighter kept going to Mann’s body and outworking him for the next several rounds. Mann, who was fighting for the first time outside of his native Germany, looked like the harder puncher, as he was able to hurt Zubov when he threw punches in combination specifically with the uppercut.
In the seventh round, Mann was able to time Zubov in the center of the ring with a beautifully placed right hand that put the Russian down once again. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, Zubov got up from the knockdown and continued to plow away at Mann.
The final three rounds were nip and tuck; however, the German fighter looked like the fresher fighter and was able to stun Zubov anytime he landed any punches. After ten rounds of action, Mann was awarded the unanimous decision victory with scores of 98-89 twice and once scorecard of 96-91.
Zubov is a fighter that is almost too tough for his own good, and hopefully, he will be able to recover and take an extended break from the ring following his fight with Mann.
Uzbekistan’s Shohjahon Ergashev (14-0, 13 KOs) made quick work out Zack Ramsey (8-5, 2 KOs) in the super lightweight division as he dismantled the Massachusetts native with a quick first-round knockout. Ergashev wasted no time getting to work landing a straight left on Ramsey as soon as the bell rang to start the match. The 26-year old Ergashev landed a body shot underneath the rib cage of Ramsey putting the fight to an end in the first round.
In the lightweight division, 22-year old Deshawn Boyd (2-0) took on Marcos Delgado (0-1) who was making his professional boxing debut. In the first round, Boyd landed a right hand during an exchange that put Delgado down. Boyd looked like the quicker fighter in all four rounds landing combinations at will. Delgado gave a good account of himself in the third and fourth rounds pushing Boyd back while applying pressure and letting his hands go in combinations. It would be to no avail as all three judges scored the fight in favor of Boyd with scores of 40-35 on all three scorecards.
Chicago native Owen Saldana (1-0) made his professional boxing debut as a cruiserweight against Florida’s Joe Miller (1-3). The fight did not last very long; Saldana was able to land a straight right hand that backed Miller against the ropes. Miller was unresponsive with Saldana unleashing a barrage of punches on him forcing the referee to stop the match. The fight was stopped at the 2:13 mark of the first round.
The broadcasts festivities began in the super lightweight division (140) with a bout between two veteran fighters. Chicago’s Genaro Mendez (13-4-1, 6 KOs) took on Lansing, Michigan’s Tyrone Harris (26-13, 16 KOs) in an exciting contest to start the event. The first three rounds were a give and take affair as both men landed effective punches. In the fourth round, Mendez landed a perfectly timed left hand pull counter that sent Harris to the canvas. Harris was unable to continue after the punch putting a halt to the bout. Mendez was awarded a technical knockout victory at the 2:08 mark of the fourth round.
While Mendez isn’t likely to receive a title shot opportunity with the victory he may be able to land a bout with an up and coming prospect in the 140-pound division.
Follow me twitter @MrHector_Franco
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.
WBSS on DAZN Report: Taylor Stops Martin In 7; Burnett Succumbs To Injury
By: Ste Rowen
In a very strange turn of events in Glasgow’s SSE Hydro Arena, tonight’s favourite, Josh Taylor progressed to the semi-finals of the World Boxing Super Series whilst, bantamweight #1 seed Ryan Burnett fell foul of what appeared to be a back injury, forcing him out of his quarter-final with Nonito Donaire mid-fight and ultimately, out of the WBSS as a whole.
Tonight’s results mean Josh Taylor, now 14-0 (12KOS), continues on to face IBF world champion, Ivan Baranchyk in the semi-finals, whilst surprisingly, veteran Nonito Donaire progresses on to next face, Zolani Tete for both, a place in the Super Series final, and to unify the WBO and WBA bantamweight divisions.
The lights, the crowd, the action? Yes.
The noise was deafening as the first bell rang. Taylor sprung first, and every attack made the crowd jack-a-box out of their seats, even if it was just a cleanly landed jab. With Taylor though so far, there feels an inevitability.
Not in the – no matter what he does, he’ll get the cards in his favour – more the belief that, if he looks like he’s struggling, he’ll find his way out.
When people doubted him against Ohara Davies, he evaded Davies’ obvious hooks and punished him on the counter; when he switch-hit tonight, and swept to orthodox, Taylor dominated yet again. Into round 5, even the Abel Sanchez trained, Ryan Martin was no match for the ‘Tartan Tornado’.
There’s no other way to call the sixth, Taylor schooled the American all around the ring, it was left to the seventh to see if he could finish him off. Despite Martin looking bright early on, the ‘Tartan Tornado’ landed a perfect left hook that dropped Martin. Curiously, the American held the right side of his head as he went down. ‘Blue Chip’ clearly wanted no more of the Scot.
The referee waved off the bout as Martin remained indecisive over whether he wanted to carry on or not. The result means Josh Taylor moves on into the semi-finals to face IBF champion, Ivan ‘The Beast’ Baranchyk’. Taylor scored the decisive 7th round stoppage and post-fight he made no mistake in saying how easy he felt it was,
‘‘I knew I was gonna win the fight. I was expecting a hard 12 rounds…credit to Ryan Martin for putting up a good fight but, in all honesty, I never got out of second gear. I was relaxed, I was flowing, and the fight was easy for me.’’
‘‘I thought it would be a little bit tougher…I proved I’m ready for this next fight against Baranchyk. I’ll do the same again.’’
And thinking ahead to his semi-final against Baranchyk,
‘‘I think it’s gonna be an electric fight…He looks very strong, very explosive but, again I’m not gonna let him get close to me so he can lay off those big shots…Like tonight, he couldn’t get a shot off against me; my timing, my speed, my distance control. Everything was just so on song’’
‘‘Nobody in this division is gonna beat me.’’
Ryan Burnett vs. Nonito Donaire
The fourth and final Super Series bantamweight quarter-final was upon as WBA ‘Super’ champion Ryan Burnett matched up with Nonito ‘Filipino Flash’ Donaire for a place in the semi-finals to face WBO titlist, Zolani Tete.
Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account
A legend, Donaire, was in the ring, and perhaps a future one entered there with him. Burnett was clearly a crowd favourite, even if the Hydro crowd sounded off their appreciation of the status the ‘Filipino Flash’ held.
The Irishman in white and black shorts forced himself onto the front-foot early doors, but neither fighter was able to establish himself early in the bout. Bearded Burnett, now 19-1 (9KOs), was willing to go toe-to-toe with the famously left-hook-happy Donaire. Clearly, the difficulties his fellow Belfast man, Carl Frampton had to come through didn’t faze Ryan. He was his own man, and without saying it aloud, he clearly disliked being labelled weak-fisted.
As round 3 ended, the Belfast man had both put his mark on his opponent and taken a fair few powerful shots himself.
Towards the end of the 4th, Ryan threw a right hand, took a knee and appeared to hold the right side of his back. He survived the round, but it signalled the end of the fight. Burnett had sustained a back injury, that meant the future hall of famer that is Nonito Donaire, now 39-5 (25KO), would progress to the semi-final stage to face Zolani Tete. A scary thought.
A perhaps much scarier thought is that Ryan Burnett, who has been plagued with a variety of issues throughout his career, will now struggle to return from what appears to be a back issue.
Either way, post-fight, Donaire made a point of acknowledging his opponent,
‘‘Ryan was a tough guy, but we felt very comfortable coming in there. Just see the adjustments that I was coming in and I think that it showed what I’m capable of in this weight class.’’
‘‘I’m grateful that I was able to test the weight…Now I’m a lot lighter, you’ll see the Filipino Flash more often.’’
‘‘It didn’t come out the way we wanted it to, but a victory is a victory and we’re so grateful for this opportunity.’’
On the undercard…
Zach Parker vs. Darryll Williams
Zach Parker, somewhat controversially, became the new super-middleweight Lonsdale belt champion with a split decision over fan favourite, Darryll Williams.
Williams was slick in his movement early doors and opted to smother Parker out of any chance he had of making a mark. Zach was audibly the crowd favourite. By round 3, the fight was well & truly on. Both fighters had tagged each other early & anticipation was high heading into the middle rounds.
Both Brits by now were looking for an in. Williams had put his mark on Parker again in the 4th but the southpaw in Parker regained composure as the fight headed into round 6.
The fight, though entertaining through to the 10th, was missing something. As if both boxers had another level to end the bout but weren’t willing to give away their party piece.
It was as ugly as it was entertaining & in the final round Parker, the favourite, evaded attack as if he knew he had the victory already.
The opening bout for viewers may have lacked a KO but it never lacked sustained action.
The scorecards after 12 rounds came back as, 117-112 Parker, 115-113 Williams, 115-114 Parker, crowning Zach Parker as the NEW British super-middleweight champion. The Glasgow crowd disagreed.
Paul Butler vs, Yoan Boyeaux
To the uninitiated, Yoan Boyeaux has an impressive record of 41-5, but delve deeper and you’ll see that the Frenchman’s only accomplished opponent until tonight is WBSS bantamweight favourite, Naoya Inoue; an opponent he was stopped by in 3 rounds.
So, it was down to the former IBF ‘Baby-Face’ champion to get rid of his opponent early. However, that wasn’t to be. The Liverpudlian, in the early rounds was economical with his punches but when he fired, he made it count and made an impression. Boyeaux had his moments, but perhaps that’s being generous. Butler, in white & glittering gold shorts fought his way to a 99-91 victory.
Viktor Postol vs. Siar Ozgul
WBSS injury-reserve for the super-lightweights, Victor Postol stalked and dominated his Turkish opponent all night and after the scheduled 10 rounds was up it seemed Viktor had, had a little too much fun. He was on early and the Glasgow crowd wanted a knockout, but Postol, like in his bout with tonight’s main event fighter, Josh Taylor, did not comply and the fight went the distance. The judge’s scorecard returned as 99-91 for the Ukrainian.
WBSS on DAZN Results: Prograis Defeats Flanagan; Baranchyk Stops Yigit
By: Ste Rowen
Tonight in The Big Easy, it was anything but easy viewing for the main event audience as, Regis Prograis battled his way to a unanimous decision victory over terry Flanagan; and, in more pleasant viewing, Ivan Baranchyk became the new IBF 140lb champion to score a 7th round technical stoppage over Anthony Yigit; both to progress to the semi-finals of their respective WBSS semi-finals.
Prograis now moves on to face Kiryl Relikh in the semi-finals; whilst Baranchyk faces the winner of next week’s matchup between Josh Taylor vs. Ryan Martin.
Both main event fighter’s southpaws, Prograis and Flanagan, were clearly weary of the other’s qualities as the two WBSS quarterfinalists fought off a steady jab through the early rounds into the 4th. ‘Turbo’ was in the fight but offering very little other than making it difficult for Prograis to initiate a substantial offense.
Photo Credit: DAZN Twitter Account
Both boxers seemed more mobile through the middle rounds, but there was only one man, home fighter Regis, who wanted to bring the excitement tonight. Flanagan seemed to have resigned himself to the occasional overhand counter. The Manchester native’s combinations weren’t quick enough to land on ‘Rougarou’.
At the end of round 6, Prograis gestured to his home crowd to pick up the atmosphere, a sure sign that the fight was lacking action. The American, in black and gold shorts, did his best to break out a fight but as the saying goes, it takes two to tango, and the away fighter had no desire to dance anything but his own moves.
With just over two minutes left of the 8th, Prograis dropped Flanagan. ‘Turbo’ took the 8-count and the onslaught that followed from the WBC ‘Interim’ champ, to survive the round. Now the crowd was making the noise Regis wanted to hear. But the 9th began as if the previous round hadn’t happened, ‘Turbo’ persisted with his earlier tactics, and Prograis reverted to a jab and hook manoeuvre.
Through 10 and 12, more of the same occurred as the American looked for a way in, but Terry nullified most shots that came his way, without firing back with his own arsenal.
It’s not hard to see what Flanagan’s plan was at the start of tonight’s bout, it is difficult however, to understand what ‘Turbo’ was looking to do in the championship rounds. The former WBO lightweight champion did very little in terms of attack compared to ‘Rougarou’ and by the final bell it felt as if the Manchester fighter came to survive rather than to win. Regis’ jab ruled the fight throughout and saw him to the final bell.
It was never in doubt as the crowd waited for the judge’s final scorecards. The announcer called, 119-108, 118-109, 117-110 all for Regis Prograis, who spoke after the fight,
‘‘I want to bring big time boxing back to New Orleans and guess what? I did it. We gonna do it again.’’
‘‘I boxed my ass off. Most people say I can’t box, I can’t do this, I can’t do that, I only got power, now I showed you I can go 12 rounds with a world class fighter…It doesn’t matter who the hell I fight, the Muhammad Ali trophy is mine.’’
Ivan Baranchyk vs. Anthony Yigit
Baranchyk ‘The Beast’ may have been born in Belarus, but the super-lightweight has made his home in the US, and tonight it seemed as though he’d made his home in New Orleans as he fell into his stride early on into tonight’s bout.
From the first bell both fighters went in search for the big, finisher. Yigit, the southpaw struggled to make as much as an impact as his Belarussian opponent who, on multiple occasions through the early rounds, impactfully jerked the Swedes head back.
Photo Credit: DAZN Twitter Account
Yigit was throwing well, but volume counts for nothing if it doesn’t land. Baranchyk was living to his pseudonym of ‘The Beast’ into rounds 2 and 3 as he landed with precision, rarely wasting shots, and though at times he was using his face as his best defence, Ivan’s chin stood up and allowed him to fire off hooks more efficiently.
It seems a little lazy to compare an eastern European fighter to Gennady Golovkin but, Baranchyk really does resemble an early day’s version of the Kazakh. Ivan seems to trust so much in his chin and accuracy that he’s prepared to go toe to toe, and jaw to jaw, with whatever opponent he faces.
Into round 4 there was now swelling below Yigit’s left eye. The pressure seemed beginning to tell, but the Swedish southpaw clearly hadn’t got the message as he rushed into attacks, attempting to restrain his foe’s outside game. It wasn’t working, and by the 6th, Yigit’s left eye looked ready to blow. Baranchyk was firing from all angles, and almost without meaningful reply by now, but he knew where the most valuable punches needed to land.
Through to the 7th, no one could question Anthony’s desire. As his eye only swelled further, the Swede, 21-0-1 (7KOs) heading into tonight, seemed to have no quit in him. Though surely only being able to see out of one eye. Yigit was prepared to go head to head with one of the 140lb division’s most dangerous boxers, meeting Baranchyk in the middle of the ring when, arguably, he should have been evading attack trying to tire his opponent out.
With a minute left of round 7, the referee, Phil Edwards, took a point from Baranchyk for what seemed to be pushing down on his opponent. Harsh considering when up close, Yigit seemed to be ducking. It didn’t matter though as, at the end of the same round, the ring doctor took another extensive look at the Swede’s eye and called an end to the bout, sending the Belarussian into the World Boxing Super Series semi-finals.
Yigit fiercely protested against the stoppage but it seemed the good doctor saved the Swede from himself. Yigit will walk away from tonight with credit in the bank and, a very worthy and attractive contender.
Baranchyk however, comes away from tonight as the IBF world champion and the second Super Series semi-finalist, set to face either Josh Taylor or Ryan Martin in the near future.
Speaking post-fight, the defeated Yigit was magnanimous in defeat,
‘‘Obviously, I am a fighter and you never want a fight to be stopped but maybe it was the right decision. People are telling me it looks pretty bad…Our game plan was to take him later on because we felt like he was gassing out…But they stopped the fight, so I couldn’t fulfil the game plan. He’s a hard hitter and he deserves this win.’’
The new IBF super-lightweight champion, Ivan, now 19-0 (12KOs), was complimentary towards his opponent,
‘‘It was a tough fight, but I win this fight. I win. He’s a tough guy but I love this. Anthony is a good guy, thank you…With him (Trainer, Pedro Diaz) I will win the Ali trophy.’’
WBSS Preview: Prograis vs. Flanagan; Baranchyk vs. Yigit on DAZN
By: Ste Rowen
‘‘You walk up the street and people ask you ‘Did you win your fight?’ and you have to say no for the first time. ‘‘
Defeat never comes easy for an undefeated fighter. Terry Flanagan, the former WBO lightweight champion was 33-0 (13KOs) when he stepped into the ring with Maurice Hooker, at Manchester Arena four months ago. Watch the fight Saturday night on DAZN.
The north west native known as ‘Turbo’ isn’t the prettiest boxer even at his dominant best – see his WBO defences since winning the belt against the likes of Derry Matthews, Mzonke Fana and what felt like a never-ending bout with Petr Petrov. But the one running theme through Terry’s fights seemed to be the feeling he was a level above each and every opponent he faced.
Photo Credit: DAZN Twitter Account
Then he took the step up to super-lightweight after failing to secure unifications with the likes of former champions, Anthony Crolla, Jorge Linares and current 135lb titlist, Lomachenko. Manager Steve Wood and promoter Frank Warren maneuvered ‘Turbo’ into a position to fight for the vacant 140lb strap, recently dropped by the undisputed, Terence Crawford, and after a delay caused by a hand injury for Flanagan, Hooker and Terry were set to meet on the 9th June.
On fight night in June, southpaw, Flanagan looked out of sorts while his American foe was composed and patient. ‘Turbo’ constantly led in with his head, which it was revealed after the fight, had the adverse effect and not just for the viewers. Terry apparently sustained a concussion from the clashing of heads and suffered through the final rounds as Hooker took pot-shots off the southpaw’s face to seal a unanimous decision win for the American.
Terry lost, but months later, managed to seal his spot in the Super Series and have an opportunity for immediate redemption. Now Flanagan travels to New Orleans to face another America. Unbeaten WBC champion and #1 seed of the tournament, Regis Prograis.
‘‘They’re expecting to wipe the floor with me but it’s not gonna be the case…I see the fight against Prograis as 50/50 with us both having our own strengths, but I just think my assets stop his and therefore I win. I think what I bring to the table neutralise his strengths and that is the difference. I expect to get the credit I duly deserve after winning this fight.”
“The world boxing series is a new chapter…I believe I’m the best fighter on the planet on my day and I’m looking to show that in this tournament.‘‘
Regis Prograis has had a quick rise into boxing stardom. A former standout amateur who always aims to please, Prograis is one of two current WBC 140lb champions – Jose Ramirez being the other – ‘Rougarou’ as Prograis is otherwise known by, has a record of 22-0 (19KOs) including impressive stoppage victories over Joel Diaz Jr, Hector Velazquez and arguably his biggest win to date, a 2nd round TKO of former unified champion, Julius Indongo.
“All my fights are explosive no matter who is in front of me. I always bring the fireworks.”
In all three of the mentioned bouts Regis displayed not just the power that makes him an obvious fan favourite and the tournament’s top seed, but outstanding boxing fundamentals. A thudding single jab, the continuous fluid head & body movement and the devastating efficiency with which once he senses the opportunity for an early finish, ‘Rougarou’ goes hard on the accelerator.
“Flanagan is a really tough dude, a former world champion. I want to fight top competition and that is why I picked him. I know I am good, but I never look at myself as the favourite…I am the number one in the world and everyone fighting me sees me as a big opportunity.”
Saturday’s venue is the Lakefront Arena in Prograis’ native home of New Orleans, and the way Regis is talking, it could be a long journey to nothing for Flanagan,
“I am the number 1 seed so of course there is pressure on me, but I feel a lot better than last time I fought in New Orleans, where it felt like work and the pressure weighed on me a bit. This time I think the pressure is out of the window. This time it is going back to being fun.”
“This is not just a boxing show, when I fight in New Orleans it is a big-time event.”
A fight in the semi-finals against WBA champion, Kiryl Relikh awaits.
Ivan Baranchyk vs. Anthony Yigit
Also on Saturday’s card is the 3rd super-lightweight quarter final between two unbeaten fighters, Ivan Baranchyk vs. Anthony Yigit with the vacant IBF belt on the line.
18-0 (11KOs), Baranchyk of Belarus has been progressing at the perfect pace ever since making his move the US. ‘The Beast’s’ first three pro bouts were in Minsk before he set flight to America and began to build his name against limited opposition. From 2015 Ivan’s quality of opposition rose, as did his performances as he picked up victories over the likes of a 17-1-2, Abel Ramos but more recently, a superb dismantling of Petr Petrov in March on the undercard of Prograis/Indongo.
The manner of the victory more than the win itself solidified Baranchyk’s status as future world title contender, and his attitude toward the sport backs that up,
“I’ve never known and couldn’t even imagine life without boxing…If there is no competition I simply just cannot live without it.”
Ivan may be known as the beast, but he’s more than willing to show his versatility as his pro career progresses,
“My boxing style is aggressive. I’m constantly attacking, fighting to the very end…I’m trying to learn the Cuban way of boxing as it is respected all over the world. Pedro (Diaz) is one of the best coaches in the world and I want learn everything from him.”
“Anthony Yigit is a good boxer, a good fighter…I know all his strengths and weaknesses. I’ve been waiting for him for a long time and on the 27th I will destroy him in the ring.”
The big talk from the Belarussian is unlikely to have an effect on his Swedish opponent, and fellow unbeaten fighter, Anthony Yigit. Speaking in the WBSS pre-fight documentary, the Swede, currently 21-0-1 (7KOs), isn’t short of self-belief,
“I’m a nice guy here but if you go into the ring with me I know you’re in my way of me reaching that goal of where I want to be. When I started boxing I believed I was gonna become a world champion…In Sweden we have nine million people and no world champion. I’m gonna be one in nine million.”
Yigit, a former 2012 Olympian where he was beaten by Ukrainian, Denys Berinchyk, has shown so far in the pro ranks that if he lacks anything, it’s probably power, but the Stockholm southpaw has no intention of losing to another man with ‘chyk’ in his name,
“When I saw Usyk lift the Ali trophy I said, ‘That’s where I wanna be’ and that’s where I’m gonna be! … People have been telling me they can see something in my eyes, something that wasn’t there before.”
Winner of this matchup will go on to face either Josh Taylor or Ryan Martin, who fight next week in Glasgow.
Check out the WBSS pre-fight documentaries for both of Saturdays bouts here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYbJzjdzbAA
WBSS Recap: Rodriguez & Dorticos Earn Decision Victories to Progress to Final Four
By: Ste Rowen
In an intriguing night at Orlando’s CFE Arena, IBF champion, Emmanuel Rodriguez scored a competitive 12-round decision over Jason Moloney; while Yunier Dorticos of Cuba, earnt a tough, but dominant, unanimous decision over Mateusz Masternak, both to progress to the final four of the World Boxing Super Series.
Tonight’s results mean Puerto Rican bantamweight, Rodriguez will fight Naoya Inoue next, and Dorticos, former cruiserweight ‘Regular’ champion, takes on Andrew ‘The Beast’ Tabiti, in their respective WBSS semi-finals.
Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account
First up were the cruiserweights. Dorticos and Masternak started off their bout with a lot of jabs thrown but very little intent by either until, towards the end of the 2nd round, ‘The KO Doctor’ Dorticos lay on an onslaught of 1-2’s, forcing his Polish foe further and further back. The Pole survived but the pace of the fight was being firmly set by the Cuban.
Masternak sustained two cuts in round 3, one below his right and another above his left, but the former European champion regained composure as the fight unfolded into the middle rounds of the scheduled 12. Yunier, now 23-1-0 (20KOs), was mixing up his shots well. The frequent body attack in the early rounds let the crowd know that the former WBA ‘Regular’ champion was thinking long term for this matchup.
‘The Master’ may have taken punishment early, but through the 8th and 9th, Mateusz was showing that he wouldn’t be intimidated by Dorticos’ power. Even when the European touched the canvas in the 7th due to a slip and maybe a hint of fatigue, he rose calmly and initiated his own string of attacks. Miami resident, Dorticos, with the Orlando crowd audibly in his favour, tagged Masternak with a short right hand in the final 10 seconds of round 9. Once again, Masternak displayed his resoluteness to survive and come out swinging into the 10th.
The final rounds gave us more of the same dominance from ‘The KO Doctor’ and counters from the Polish Master. Both fighters went tit-for-tat in the 12th but the blooded face of Masternak seemed to tell the tale by the time the final bell rang.
And so, we waited for the final scorecards which returned as, 116-112, 115-113 (x2), all for Yunier Dorticos. The KO Doctor had prescribed a unanimous decision, and spoke post-fight via translator,
‘‘I came ready, I was prepared for 12 rounds. I gave the fans the best of everything I bring to the table.’’
And his thoughts on facing Andrew ‘The Beast’ Tabiti in the semi-finals,
‘‘Tabiti, be ready, The KO Doctor’s back and it aint gonna be easy. The Muhammad Ali Trophy, this time around, is mine, so you better make sure you train.’’
The final two cruiserweight WBSS quarter-finals are happening three weeks from now in Chicago when former WBC champion, Mairis Briedis comes up against Noel Gevor, and former WBO titlist, Krzysztof Glowacki fights Maksim Vlasov.
Emmanuel Rodriguez vs. Jason Moloney
In a candidate for fight of a stacked weekend, IBF titlist, Emmanuel Rodriguez roughed and toughed it out with unbeaten contender, Jason Moloney to earn a split decision over 12 rounds.
The IBF champion led with a heavy jab, multiplied his attack with swift overhand shots and evaded significant attack from his Australian opponent. Moloney is no pretender, 17-0, the Australian is undoubtedly a bantamweight contender, but unfortunately for Jason, ‘Manny’ seems to be in a class of few fighters that includes WBSS semi-finalist, Naoya Inoue, who was in attendance tonight.
Though perhaps lacking the power of Japanese phenom, Inoue, Rodriguez, now 19-0 (12KOs) is clinical in his offence. When he throws, he lands. When he dodges, he counters. Into round 4, Moloney began to find a little rhythm. The Australian became more mobile and freed up his shots, but, though there wasn’t much wrong with the tactics, ‘Manny’ figured it out as the bout headed into the middle rounds.
Moloney was more active through to round 9, the messages he was getting from his corner of Rodriguez’ legs ‘going’ were more hopeful than truthful. As the two fighters fought out round 8, the IBF champion, making his first defence, looked mean, almost annoyed that Jason was still hanging in. By the finale of the 9th, as Jason returned to his corner, the left-uppercut/right hand combo towards the end of the round from the Puerto Rican, had clearly left a lasting impression.
The bout entered the final three rounds, and though Moloney, was going all out, he struggled to do anything more than test Manny’s stamina. The blood thirsty crowd were appeased, with all-out action in the final two rounds but heading into the 12th, it looked as if Moloney would need the stoppage if he was gonna be the man to face Inoue next.
The Australian undoubtedly went for it, but the story of the fight seemed to be reoccurring as Moloney had the volume of punching, but the champ had the accuracy. The final scorecards, 115-113 for Moloney and 115-113 (x2) for Rodriguez came back closer than expected, but Rodriguez said he always felt confident, post-fight,
‘‘It took Moloney to bring the best out of me, but I knew I won the fight. We knew the fight was close, but my corner told me I was in front so, that’s what happened.’’
And Emmanuel’s thoughts on his future Japanese foe,
‘‘He’s a top fighter. I know he likes to finish his bouts with a KO…It’s gonna be a good fight and I can’t wait for it.’’
Semi-finalist and Emmanuel’s next opposition, Naoya Inoue joined Rodriguez in the ring and said,
‘‘I would like to congratulate Rodriguez on winning his fight today. I’m really excited that I’ll be facing Rodriguez in the semi-finals probably early next year.’’
The 4th 118lb quarter-final bout takes place in two weeks, when WBA champion, Ryan Burnett fights Filipino Flash, Nonito Donaire at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro. The winner of that matchup progresses on to fight WBO champion, Zolani Tete.