Press Release: The second semi-final bout in the cruiserweight edition of the World Boxing Super Series, a unification bout between WBO champion Aleksandr Usyk (13-0, 11 KOs) and WBC champion Mairis Briedis (23-0, 18 KOs) will be held in Riga, Latvia (Briedis' home country) on January 27, 2018. “I do not care where I fight,” said Usyk. "In Riga, there will be 10,000 fans and that's great. The fans should expect a beautiful and interesting battle between two world champions." [Yesterday it was announced that the other cruiserweight semi-final, between IBF champion Murat Gassiev and WBA regular title holder Yunier Dorticos will take place in Sochi, Russia on February 3, 2018.]
A 2012 Olympic Champion, 30 year-old Usyk expressed before the tournament his desire to unify the belts in the cruiserweight division and to take home the Muhammad Ali Trophy. And he kicked off in style. The Ukrainian went to Berlin in Germany on September 9 in the tournament opener and produced a spectacular display at the Max Schmeling Arena to stop former WBO champion Marco Huck in the tenth round. Now he travels to another opponent's backyard to face a current champion.
The 32 year-old Briedis excited his hometown crowd at a sold-out Arena Riga on September 30th to score a unanimous decision in his quarter-final over Cuban challenger Mike Perez. “I had a gut feeling that the World Boxing Super Series might return to Riga because of the incredible crowd at the Arena Riga in the quarter-final bout against Perez,” said Briedis, the tournament’s third seed. “I’m really happy with how it has turned out. I am thankful to the Latvian fans who made it possible by being so passionate and devoted. Now it’s all about preparing for Usyk and put up a great show when January comes.”
“The stand-out atmosphere in the quarter-finals was the noise the fans made in the sold-out Arena Riga,” said Kalle Sauerland, Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer. “We are very excited to bring the Ali Trophy to Latvia on January 27th. Usyk is Olympic champion, [WBO] world champion and the number one seed in the tournament but when he collides with national hero and [WBC] world champion Briedis he will meet by far his toughest challenge in his career. This is the biggest unification fight in the division since many, many years.”
Usyk and Briedis will soon come face-to-face at a kickoff press conference in Riga and tickets for the Ali Trophy semi-final between are going on sale next week with the exact time to be announced shortly.