Latvia’s Mairis Briedis (26-1, 19 KOs) talks about the magnitude of the WBSS Cruiserweight Ali Trophy final four weeks ahead of his hotly-anticipated encounter with Yuniel Dorticos (24-1, 22 KOs) at the Arena Riga.
“The camp is going well,” said Briedis after completing his first week of sparring. “With four weeks to the fight, we are at a stage where we still have time for the things we have planned. But the time is limited so we are trying to take full advantage of each training session.”
To reach the 200lbs final Briedis beat Germany’s Noel Mikaelian unanimously on points in his quarter-final in Chicago and stopped Poland’s Krzysztof Glowacki in Riga via TKO in the third round of a dramatic semi-final. Every fight poses a different challenge to the tournament No. 1 seed.
“The final against Dorticos can’t be compared to the Glowacki fight for example,” told the former two-time world champion. “I am gaining experience from every elite fight I have, but the opponents are different in each fight, each has their own set of skills, their own style and we are preparing differently for each opponent.”
Briedis has stated that the final ‘is going to be a thrilling fight as I’m facing one of the very best cruiser-weights on the planet.’ And he is going to face Dorticos, the Cuban KO artist in front of thousands of his countrymen at the Arena Riga.
“It’s been great to hear that the tickets sales are flying!” said the Latvian sports hero. “It makes me really happy that it looks like it will be sold out. This final for the Ali Trophy is a huge event for Latvia with the whole world watching. This will be a great opportunity to show that a rather small country like Latvia has big hearts, that we are big as a nation and ready to host the highest level of sports events in the world.”
Dorticos, the IBF champ, booked his place in the final via a points victory over Poland’s Mateusz Masternak in Orlando and a 10th round knockout of USA’s Andrew Tabiti in Riga – a KO that earned the ‘KO Doctor’ the IBF title and ‘Knockout of the Year’ prize across multiple media.
The road to Riga:
Mairis Briedis and Yuniel Dorticos took parallel routes to the cruiserweight final of the WBSS. Briedis beat Noel Mikaelian on points in his quarter-final in Chicago and stopped Krzysztof Glowacki in Riga via TKO in the third round of a dramatic semi-final. Dorticos claimed a points victory over Mateusz Masternak in Chicago and a 10th round knockout of Andrew Tabiti in Riga – a KO that earned the ‘KO Doctor’ the ‘Knockout of the Year’ prize across multiple media.
Muhammad Ali Trophy champions:
2018-19: Naoya Inoue, Bantamweight
2018-19: Josh Taylor, Super-Lightweight
2017-18: Aleksandr Usyk, Cruiserweight
2017-18: Callum Smith, Super Middleweight