WBO World Champion Aleksandr Usyk (13-0, 11 KOs) and WBC World Champion Mairis Briedis (23-0, 18 KOs) had their first face-off in Riga before the Ali Trophy semi-final bout in the Latvian capital on January 27th.
“Briedis is a good fighter, but the only thing he has that I want is his belt,” said Usyk. “I am looking forward to fighting in Riga, it’s going to be a great event. I am sure there will be a lot of people coming from Ukraine to support me. People can look forward to an entertaining fight between two world champions both eager to qualify for the final and win the Muhammad Ali Trophy.”
Said Mairis Briedis: “It is one of my dreams as a fighter to be part of one of the greatest fights of all time. I hope this fight will be a Hall of Fame fight. It has all the ingredients to become a classic.”
“Usyk was excellent as an amateur and he has been great as a professional, so it will be a tough challenge, but I believe that I have what it takes to beat him.”
“It is lovely to be in Riga,” said Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer Kalle Sauerland. “This fight will be the biggest sports event ever on Latvian soil. We have to world champions, two amazing contenders, two sensational athletes. Briedis, the national hero of Latvia, the WBC Champion vs. Usyk, an Olympic Champion and World Champion. So the stage is set for a night full of drama.”
This biggest cruiserweight unification fight for several years takes place at the Arena Riga. The same place where Mairis Briedis booked his place in the semi-final by outpointing Mike Perez in front of a sold-out crowd of 10.000 fans.
His Ukrainian opponent went to Berlin in in the tournament opener and produced a spectacular display at the Max-Schmeling-Arena to stop former world champion Marco Huck in the 10th round.