Glowacki overpowers Vlasov; Briedis escapes Mikaeljan by controversial decision
Controversy overshadowed the second half of the World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight quarterfinals as Mairis Briedis escaped his fight with Noel Mikaeljan with a debatable unanimous decision Saturday at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago to set up a semifinal showdown with Krzysztof Glowacki.
Briedis (25-1, 18 knockouts) of Latvia had been the second season’s number one seed thanks to wins over Marco Huck and Mike Perez, plus his close battle with Oleksandr Usyk. The height advantage and the cagey style of Germany-based Armenian Mikaeljan gave Briedis plenty of issues, keeping him from letting his hands go. Mikaeljan (23-2, 10 KOs), whose lone defeat was a close split decision against Krzysztof Wlodarczyk last year, lost a point in the fourth for rabbit punching but seemed to have the advantage with his jab and pull counter right hands.
Briedis also lost a point in the tenth, apparently for pushing Mikaeljan’s head down.
The scores – 116-110, 115-111, and 114-112 – were met with derision in social media and from the commentators.
Briedis appeared to blame some unspecified injury issues in the past in the post-fight interview, but the perception that he got a gift has taken some of the luster off his campaign in the tournament.
Glowacki (31-1, 19 KOs) had far less controversy in his unanimous decision win over Maksim Vlasov (42-3, 25 KOs), with the lone debatable aspect being a called third round knockdown which was more a product of balance than any punch thrown. The call didn’t have much impact on the fight as Glowacki’s superior power made the difference against Vlasov, a former middleweight who had been a light heavyweight three years ago.
After the knockdown, Vlasov picked up the pace in the next three rounds, compelling Glowacki’s trainer Fiodor Lapin to push his fighter in the corner to show more urgency. Glowacki answered back by landing a short left in close to rock Vlasov, who was cut on the right eye in the ninth by a headbutt. Glowacki suffered his own cut, this one on his left cheek by a headbutt, but it was immaterial.
Glowacki picked up the decision by scores of 118-110, 117-110 and 115-112 to earn the “interim” WBO cruiserweight title and a trip to the next round.
“Mairis is a great fighter so I’m expecting it to be more interesting than tonight,” said Glowacki.
On the other side of the bracket, Yunier Dorticos will face Andrew Tabiti to decide who meets in the finale.