The semifinals of the second cruiserweight World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) kicks off this Saturday on DAZN at 2 p.m. ET in Riga, Latvia. Two matchups in particular will determine the tournament finale, one of which features Mairis Briedis (25-1, 18 KOs) vs. former world champion Krzysztof Glowacki (31-1, 19 KOs).
With last year’s finalists Oleksandr Usyk and Murat Gassiev moving up to heavyweight, this could be the premier fight to decide the next division ruler.
Tale of the Tape
Briedis, 35, hardly needs an introduction but once held the WBC strap before losing it to eventual tournament winner and unified champion Usyk in a tough fight. He memorably became just the second cruiserweight to defeat Marco Huck at that weight in a decade.
He’s had several other notable wins including a one-punch knockout over heavyweight Manuel Charr as well as blowing away Simon Vallily and Olanrewaju Durodola. However, his last two outings have been less than impressive against unheralded Brandon Deslaurier and underrated boxer Noel Gevor.
The 10-round dust-up with Deslaurier could have probably been forgiven since it came right after his first pro defeat but the Latvian has a habit of fighting down (or up to) his opponents.
Glowacki, like Briedis shares a loss to Usyk, losing his WBO strap in the process. He originally won the strap from Huck in a barn burner and made one successful title defense against former champion Steve Cunningham.
Glowacki went on to compile five straight wins since the loss Usyk including his quarterfinal decision over equally powerful Maxim Vlasov. The Polish warrior is a terrifying puncher with the power to change the course of any fight when he lands.
Future of the Cruiserweights
In addition to a spot in the finals, the WBC and WBO world titles will be on the line when Briedis and Glowacki do battle. The significance of the moment is not lost on either fighter.
“I am very happy to be here and I just can’t wait for Saturday,” says Glowacki, the WBO champion. “I think it is going to be a great war and I am going to win.”
But, Briedis doesn’t see it as a war like Glowacki does. “I wouldn’t use the word ‘war’ about the fight like Krzysztof. It is a strong word, but I think it is going to be a beautiful and very watchable fight.”
Glowacki was elevated to regular WBO cruiserweight champion from his interim champion status after Usyk moved to the heavyweight division. Usyk’s only remaining title is the IBF belt, which will be contested by co-featured semi-finalists Andrew Tabiti and Yuniel Dorticos.
The odd belt out of the tournament is the WBA “Super” title, held by Dennis Lebedev, who is in separate talks to face Lawrence Okolie later this year.
Briedis is a concussive puncher and very skillful so it might not be a good idea for Glowacki to simply slug this one out. Glowacki had a fine amateur career but lacks experience against big-name opponents outside of Huck, Cunningham and Usyk.
Both fighters have decent knockout ratios with Briedis at 69 percent and Glowacki trailing slightly at 61 percent. Most glaringly, is the fact that Glowacki has fought almost exclusively in Europe against European opposition.
Briedis has the slight edge in height, power, skills as well as experience against world class opponents. However, he is not the quickest cruiserweight and can become quite predictable when up against an opponent that he cannot put away.
Breidis is the better boxer and logical pick in this contest of potential attrition. He’s also fighting on his home turf so that should provide incentive to be more aggressive and put on an exciting show. Glowacki has much heart but relies too heavily upon his power and can be neutralized by a more skilled opponent if he is unable to land like we saw against Usyk. The fight could go either way but Breidis has more paths to victory and Glowacki will almost certainly lose this one if it goes to the cards.
The hometown hero Breidis should win a hard fought decision to advance to the finals to face the winner of Tabiti-Dorticos
Boxer-puncher Andrew Tabiti (17-0, 13 Kos) will meet Cuban knockout artist Yunier Dorticos (23-1, 21 Kos) in the other tournament semi-final mentioned on this night of cruiserweight boxing. The vacant IBF cruiserweight title will also be on the line and the winner will of course get a crack at either Briedis or Glowacki in the finals for division supremacy.
Tabiti is a rising star in the Mayweather Promotions stable and hopes to build his own legacy by winning the WBSS tournament and hoisting the Ali Trophy. He was the sole unseeded cruiserweight to advance to the quarterfinals, defeating #4 Ruslan Fayer by unanimous decision on the latter’s home turf of Russia. Dorticos is coming off a tough 12-round decision over Mateusz Masternak in the quarterfinal and will be in search for redemption after his semi-final defeat to Gassiev last year.
The Cuban will probably look to end matters early with a single punch but that might prove difficult against a slick fighter with excellent reflexes like Tabiti.