Mairis Briedis looks to reach the top of the cruiserweight food chain on Saturday
Rugged boxer-puncher and former two-time cruiserweight titlist Mairis Briedis will face IBF cruiserweight titleholder Yuniel Dorticos in the final of the World Boxing Super Series at the Plazamedia Broadcasting Center, a leading live sports production house in Munich, Germany, on Saturday.
The winner will be crowned The Ring Magazine champion and will also collect the prestigious Muhammad Ali Trophy.
Briedis, who is rated No. 1 by The Ring at 200 pounds, reached the semi-final in the inaugural tournament and is pleased to have gone one step further in Season Two.
“The two strongest boxers have gotten to the tournament final, so it will be a clash between the two best cruiserweights in the world,” Briedis (26-1, 19 knockouts) told The Ring through Raimonds Zeps. “That’s why it’s final and the stakes are so high.”
The 35-year-old Latvian appreciates what Dorticos brings to the table but wanted to keep any potential areas of weakness to himself.
“He’s adjusting to his opponents very well during the fights and is a pretty hard puncher,” said Briedis. “Also he’s an experienced boxer.
“That’s something I will only see in the ring when we start boxing. One thing is watching a tape and analyzing what you see on a TV screen but to experience it is two different things.”
Three of Briedis’ last five fights have taken place in his native Latvia. He is usually well supported by throngs of his countrymen and admits that the current situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t ideal. However he believes he will take his fans’ positive energy into the ring.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve last boxed without any Latvians present to cheer for me,” he said. “I don’t know how it will feel; I will be able to tell only after the fight.
“But the Latvian public that’s been with me in Riga and other places will still travel with me to Germany inside of me and I’m sure I will also get the energy from people supporting me by a TV screen at their homes or wherever they will be watching the fight at.”
Briedis is excited to also be competing for additional hardware.
“The Ring Magazine is the very top of the food chain when it comes to boxing and Muhammad Ali Trophy speaks for itself,” he proudly explained. “It’s a very great honor for me as an athlete.
“None of these trophies are with me right now and I would very much love to see them with me at home.”
Kalle Sauerland, chief boxing officer of the WBSS, is happy to finally stage the cruiserweight final after a difficult few months but expects the wait to be worthwhile.
“It has the makings of another WBSS classic,” said Sauerland. “The best against the best of the division to see who the cruiserweight king is. That quest for the Muhammad Ali trophy, that always brings out something special as we’ve seen in the past. The ingredients are there; 1 against 2 has provided fireworks before and I would expect nothing different this time.”
Dorticos (24-1, 22 KOs) turned professional in 2009. The big-punching Cuban won his first 21 bouts; however his career lacked direction until he took part in Season One of the WBSS. The 34-year-old impressively took out fellow power-puncher Dmitry Kudryashov (TKO 2) and was upgraded to full WBA titleholder before losing a shootout to then-IBF titleholder Murat Gassiev (TKO 12) in a unification bout. He bounced back in Season Two of the WBSS with a win over Mateusz Masternak (UD 12) and won the vacant IBF title at the expense of Andrew Tabiti (KO 10).
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright.
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