WBO World Champion Aleksandr Usyk (13-0, 11 KOs) talks about his upcoming semi-final against WBC World Champion Mairis Briedis (23-0, 18 KOs) at the Arena Riga on January 27.
The Ukrainian superstar went to Berlin in September last year and opened the first season of the World Boxing Super Series by producing a spectacular display at the Max-Schmeling-Arena to stop former world champion Marco Huck in the 10th round.
Usyk’s training camp before the biggest unification fight in years in the cruiserweight division took place in Bukovel, on the ridge-lines of the Carpathian Mountains under the guidance of his trainer Sergey Vatamanyuk.
Now the 2012 Olympic gold medallist is traveling to Riga – to the backyard of the Latvian hero Mairis Briedis.
How are you looking forward to fighting in Riga?
“Let Briedis think about that, not me. All I know is that there will be a lot of my countrymen coming to Riga to support me.”
How big is the fight against Briedis when you look at your career?
“It is a big fight and it is going to be a big day in my career. It’s a unification fight. The fight for the Muhammad Ali Trophy is about the best fighting the best. I have the WBO belt and he has WBC – I like the colour green and the WBC belt is green so I can’t wait to get that belt.”
What do you think of your opponent?
“I have nothing bad to say about Briedis. His style is a bit boring, but I respect him. Briedis is a world champion so he has to be good.”
Why do you respect him?
“In principle, I respect all of my opponents. I even respect Marco Huck who spoke bad about me and pushed me at a press conference. I know what fighters are going through in order to be able to enter the ring. It takes a lot of training, a lot of work and I will always respect that.”
WORLD BOXING SUPER SERIES FIXTURES
27/01/2018 Cruiserweight Semi-Final:
Aleksandr Usyk vs. Mairis Briedis (WBO World & WBC World)
Riga Arena, Riga, Latvia
03/02/18 Cruiserweight Semi-Final:
Murat Gassiev vs. Yunier Dorticos (IBF World & WBA World)
Bolshoy Ice Dome, Sochi, Russia
17/02/18 Super Middleweight Semi-Final:
George Groves vs. Chris Eubank Jr (WBA Super World & IBO World)
Manchester Arena, Manchester, UK
24/02/18 Super Middleweight Semi-Final:
Callum Smith vs. Juergen Braehmer (WBC Diamond Belt)
Arena Nürnberger Versicherung, Nuremberg, Germany
WORLD BOXING SUPER SERIES AT A GLANCE
Number of participants: 16
Number of belts: 7
Number of world champions: 6
Number of former world champions: 3
Number of undefeated fighters: 9
Combined Record of participants (at start): 423 wins, 17 losses, 294 KOs