Cooper’s Corner: Usyk and Briedis Ready For Battle

Usyk and Briedis both come in under 200lbs

Boxing in 2018 begins to pick up some real steam this weekend as we see the first semi-final of the Cruiserweight World Boxing Super Series. Undefeated WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk and WBC title holder Mairis Briedis put their undefeated records on the line at the Riga Arena, Riga, Latvia tomorrow after both fighter’s come made weight with Usyk weighing 199.2lbs and Briedis 199lbs.

Usyk won the WBO title in September 2016, beating the then undefeated champion Krzysztof Glowacki. He has gone on to defend his title 3 times, last time out beating former world champion Marco Huck in the quarter final of the WBSS in Germany. Whilst Huck was game, he didn’t appear to cause Usyk many problems with the fight being stopped in the 10th round. Although I actually thought Huck looked a lot better in this fight than he did in his previous fight against Breidis.

Breidis became the champion in April of last year, fighting Marco Huck for the vacant WBC title. Last time out he beat Mike Perez on all the judges’ scorecards 114-112, 115-111 and 116-111, with points being deducted from both fighters. One thing Usyk may have to watch out for is Breidis holding should Usyk come in close. Breidis was deducted a point in the fight against Perez for excessive holding, and I have seen him doing the same thing in other fights.

This promises to be a different kind of fight to that of the other WBSS cruiserweight semi-final. Whilst, both Usyk and Breidis carry power. I expect this fight to be more feet first than fist first. Usyk likes to use angles to attack, Breidis tends to draw his opponents in and then go to work. Of the two fighters I give the edge in power to Breidis who can bang with either hand. Whilst Usyk lacks the edge in power to Breidis he has the advantage of having faster hands. Make no mistake about it, this fight has something for everyone; power, tactics, speed, poise. For me, this is my WBSS final.

UK bookmakers have Usyk as a 16-1 favourite for this fight. But only time will tell whether Usyk can block out the noise of what will be a partisan crowd in favour of Breidis to the back of his mind and get the job done.

The real winners are us boxing fans! May the best man win.

By: Aaron Cooper 

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