Briedis escapes with a questionable unanimous decision!
Noel Mikaelian came into this fight determined to establish himself as a serious contender at cruiserweight. With fourteen months out of the ring, many believed he would be easy pickings for a former world champion.
Mairis Briedis felt the need to redeem himself as he was only a few points away from defeating the current cruiserweight king in the last WBSS tournament.
This bout was one for fans who understand the logical and technical side of the sport. A slow-paced and methodical first half of the fight saw the 28 year-old German fighter dictating the pace with his jab.
Briedis seemed to be confused by the variation behind his opponent’s jab. In addition, while the reach of the two is identical, Mikaelian did a better of getting full extension on his jab from the outside.
By round four, the former champion started to show the effects of the jab through a bleeding nose. He knew he had to get closer, however, the younger fighter would close the distance behind his jab much quicker. In the process, Mikaelian would tie-up and out-muscle Briedis, rendering him ineffective.
With those cliches came some rabbit punching which the German consequently lost a point for in the fifth round. Regardless, he out-boxed Briedis well enough to where he may not have actually lost the round.
As the fight wore on, it became evident the instructions of famed Cuban trainer Pedro Diaz and the execution by Mikaelian were spot on! Briedis became a desperate fighter who applied ineffective aggression by walking the younger fighter down without throwing any punches.
When he would get inside, Mikaelian would just counter and tie-up. In round nine, the Latvian resorted to rough house tactics by holding the head and hitting his opponent in a clinch. The referee immediately responded by taking a point away from Briedis. This evened-out the point deducted from his opponent earlier.
As the twelfth round expired, the winner was clear. Briedis never made the adjustments to overcome the master plan of Diaz and Mikaelian.
Controversy in Chicago!
HOWEVER, the judges saw otherwise! 116-110, 114-112 and 115-111 all went to the former WBC champion! 3kingsboxing.com scored the fight 115-111 for Mikaelian!
Briedis will move on the the semi-finals to face the winner of Krzysztof Glowacki vs Maksim Vlasov.
By: EJ Williams