WBO Cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk faces WBC Cruiserweight title holder Mairis Briedis in the semifinals of the World Boxing Super Series at the Riga Arena in Riga, Latvia on January 27th, 2018.
The winner of the bout will move on to face the winner of the other semi-final bout IBF champion Murat Gassiev and WBA king Yunier Dorticos on February 3rd, 2018. The World Boxing Super Series champion will receive the Muhammad Ali Trophy, boxing’s most prestigious prize today.
Nation Behind Him
Usyk is the top seed in this cruiserweight tournament. The former 2011 World Champion and 2012 Olympic champion is undefeated in 13 bouts with 11 knockouts. But he will be facing a fellow world champion in his own backyard. Mairis Briedis is considered a national hero in Latvia and you can expect the whole nation to be cheering for him.
That crowd support was evident during Briedis quarterfinal fight against Mike Perez which he won by unanimous decision. Briedis has fought eight times in front of his countrymen and he’s never lost a bout there. The WBC champion also has an unblemished record of 23-0 with 18 KOs.
Can’t Miss Battle
The betting gods favor Usyk here at -500 while Briedis is the underdog at +350. This is a can’t miss battle between two unbeaten champions. You can’t ask for a better way to start the year. But of course you’ve got to realize that this is part of the World Boxing Super Series where champions meet champions in order to determine the best of the best.
Usyk has the advantage in speed and combinations while Briedis possesses that one punch knockout power than can end this fight at any given time. This will most probably go down to who can dictate the tempo of the fight and we believe that’s going to be Oleksandr Usyk.
The Ukrainian isn’t just the bigger fighter in this match-up, he also has the ability to mix punches and land different combinations. Usyk is also quicker on his feet and has the ability to take a punch. Given these advantages, Usyk is going to frustrate Briedis all night long.
When big punchers like Briedis can’t land the ‘Big One’, they tend to get discouraged and lose focus. Briedis is an excellent slugger and a deserving champion but he doesn’t have what it takes to outwork Usyk inside the ring. We’re picking Usyk to win close, on points and in a very good fight.