SAN DIEGO, Calif., September 25, 2020 – The World Boxing Super Series delivered a tremendous cruiserweight tournament, with Oleksandr Usyk taking it all to become the unified division champion in 2018 with a victory over Murat Gassiev.
Both Usyk and Gassiev moved up to the heavyweight division. A second cruiserweight tournament got underway late in 2018, with the two semi-finalists Marius Briedis of Latvia (26-1, 19 KOs) and Yuniel Dorticos of Cuba (24-1, 22 KOs) leading the list of new contenders. Dorticos lost to Gassiev, while Briedis lost to Usyk in the first tournament.
Briedis and Dorticos prevailed over their opponents and made it to tournament #2’s final scheduled in March, then May in Latvia. But as with so many other events, the coronavirus pandemic stalled the bout.
Fifteen months after the tournament started, the final has been nearly forgotten, and we can’t let this happen. Achtung, boxing fans. It’s finally taking place on Saturday behind closed doors at the Plazamedia Studios in Munich, Germany. It’s being overshadowed by the attention on the Showtime Boxing doubleheader, but you can see this final long before the PPV starts. Dorticos and Briedis airs in the U.S. on DAZN USA starting at 3 p.m. ET/12 noon PT.
Both men made weight on Friday, with Briedis at 198 pounds and Dorticos at 199 pounds. The winner receives the WBSS Muhammad Ali Trophy and the RING Magazine title as well.
Don’t expect this one to go the distance. Both men are eager to remind everyone what they’re all about.
Dorticos, known as the “KO Doctor,” said “I can’t wait for tomorrow night. It’s going to be fireworks. Tomorrow I will pick up where Muhammad Ali left 44 years ago when he produced the last knockout of his career here in Munich. I will pick up where his footsteps left, meaning I will carry on with his legacy.”
Briedis has no intention of letting it happen. “We have done a tremendous job at training camp. We truly believe we will show a spectacular fight.”
Dorticos is a world-class power puncher who has one focus in the ring: knocking out his opponent. Breidis has plenty of power too, but he’s more willing to box to get a victory. This is a fight that won’t go the distance. Whoever makes a mistake first will pay a big price. Be in your seat on time.
Tartan Tornado Josh Taylor returns
Also on Saturday, WBA/IBF junior welterweight world champion Josh Taylor returns to the ring for a title defense against his IBF mandatory challenger Apinun Khongsong of Thailand behind closed doors at York Hall in London. The full card airs on ESPN+ in the United States starting at 2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 am PT. The main event should take place at approximately 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT.
The “Tartan Tornado” sits at the top of the 140-pound junior welterweight division, with WBC/WBO titleholder Jose Ramirez eager to get a crack at him. Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs) became world champion during the World Boxing Super Series when he defeated the then-unbeaten Ivan Baranchyk via unanimous decision in Glasgow, Scotland in the semifinals. He then defended those titles in the final against American Regis Prograis.
Khongsong (16-0, 13 KOs) became the mandatory challenger after winning the IBF Pan Pacific and IBF Asia titles. He has knocked out his last six opponents including former world title challenger Akihiro Kondo of Japan.
Taylor says he didn’t want a tune-up fight, choosing to use the layoff time and the preparation to work more closely with new trainer Ben Davison in London.
“Getting straight back in there against my mandatory challenger is great, as it’s kept me fully focused. I want big fights in my career, so this is an important fight with my belts on the line,” said Taylor. Whether Khongsong is a paper tiger or a truly tough and tested opponent should be apparent early in the bout.
Also on the UK card, former flyweight world champion Charlie Edwards of London (15-1-1 6 KOs), moves up to bantamweight in a 10-round bout against Kyle Williams of Wolverhampton (11-2, 3 KOs). Edwards came close to losing his title last August to Julio Cesar Martinez last August on the Lomachenko vs. Campbell undercard, but the bout was ruled a no-contest after Martinez hit Edwards after a knockdown when he was on the canvas. Edwards needs to prove whether he’s a contender or a pretender.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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