Schaefer: WBSS Has Elevated the Entire Cruiserweight Division

By Keith Idec

HOBOKEN, N.J. – Richard Schaefer can’t imagine many boxing fans would be excited about the cruiserweight division if it weren’t for the World Boxing Super Series.

Schaefer, one of the tournament’s promoters, thinks the WBSS’ talent pool and single-elimination format have drawn fans to the often-overlooked division between light heavyweight and heavyweight. The WBSS cruiserweight tournament thus far has produced Yuniel Dorticos’ spectacular second-round knockout of Dmitry Kudryashov, Oleksandr Usyk’s compelling 10th-round stoppage of Marco Huck and Mairis Briedis’ mostly unremarkable, unanimous-decision victory over Mike Perez.

The final quarterfinal fight of the cruiserweight tournament – IBF champion Murat Gassiev against former WBC and IBF champ Krzysztof Wlodarczyk – is scheduled for Saturday night at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey (DirecTV’s AUDIENCE Network; 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT).

world-boxing-super-series (1)

The winner between Russia’s Gassiev (24-0, 17 KOs, 1 NC) and Poland’s Wlodarczyk (53-3-1, 37 KOs) will advance to the semifinals for a showdown with Cuba’s Dorticos (22-0, 21 KOs), the WBA champion. Ukraine’s Usyk (13-0, 11 KOs), the WBO champion, and Latvia’s Briedis (23-0, 18 KOs), the WBC champion, will square off in the other semifinal.

“You just look at the facts,” Schaefer told “The fact is if you go to any of the boxing websites, the blogs worldwide, you would have to look at today, right now, what is the most talked-about division in the sport? It’s the cruiserweights. And why is that? It’s because of this tournament. Everybody’s talking about the tournament, everybody’s talking about these cruiserweights.

“If we didn’t have these tournaments and the cruiserweights wouldn’t have been featured, do you think anybody would be talking about Gassiev or Dorticos? Maybe they would be talking about Usyk a little bit because he has had some exposure here in the U.S. But all the other guys, nobody would be talking about them. That’s what this tournament did. It elevated an entire division and put the spotlight on what I think is one of the most exciting divisions in boxing because I think these cruiserweights are really heavyweights in shape.”

Abel Sanchez, who trains Gassiev, has enjoyed the attention the tournament has brought to his powerful, previously underexposed cruiserweight champion.

“This tournament is really unbelievable for these kids,” Sanchez said. “They can really show their wares on a stage we’re not really used to having in the cruiserweight division. The cruiserweight division is like boxing’s red-headed stepchild. Nobody wanted to see it. They talk about the middleweight division being the glory division because of the speed and power.

“But all these fights, except for maybe Briedis-Perez being a bad matchup, all these guys are fast, all these guys are athletic … these are the old heavyweights. Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Evander Holyfield. These are the guys that’ll bring back that speed and power, and have people watching them. Like with Dorticos knocking out Kudryashov the way he did, that’s what people wanna see.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by jas on 10-20-2017

wbss has potential to make promoters and sanctioning bodies irrelevant which will obviously be great for boxing

Comment by Kiowhatta on 10-20-2017

Apologies to CW fans and no disrespect to the fighters, but this has always been a lame duck of a division. Now the WBC wants to create a super heavyweight division, they can't see through their bull**** rationale about it…

Comment by Pusnuts on 10-19-2017

Cruiserweight always had a lot of potential, especially now as humans are bigger, not just fatter. Its more like a natural weight , like middleweight was like 50 years ago. They could consider upping the weight limit too , heavyweight…

Comment by Eff Pandas on 10-19-2017

Yea I agree. Granted its not as big as it coulda been if it'd have received more higher profile US coverage. It'll be curious to see how the CW + SMW winners of this tournament get received afterwards. The CW…

Comment by Dr.Cool on 10-19-2017

Less than 500 Americans total even know there is a cruiserweight division. Less than 50 know of this WBSS. Cruiser is a division for hws who can't win at hw and for lhws who can't win at lhw. The entire…

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (9)
Top Headlines Devon Alexander: My Opioid Addiction Kept Me Out of The Ring Cotto Recalls KO Win Over Ricardo Torres Put Him "On the Map" Duva: Kovalev Still Man to Beat in Light Heavyweight Division Tony Bellew Has Options in Fallout of David Haye Rematch Zolani Tete Explains Record Breaking Knockout, The Aftermath Frank Warren on Frampton's Win, Tete's Big KO, Conlan's Loss Saunders: Khan on Celeb Show For 100K, Fight Brook For Millions! Golovkin's Promoter: We're Ready, Canelo Just Has To Say "Yes' Bellew's Coach: We Are Devastated That David Haye Withdrew Arum: HBO's Nelson is an Amateur, SHO's Espinoza is Competent! Kovalev's Return a Reminder of Prolonged Stevenson Frustration Jacobs: First Fight Was 50-50 - 100% I Win The Golovkin Rematch! Zolani Tete Dares Ryan Burnett To Get in The Ring, Unify Belts Cyborg Still Plans To Pursue Boxing Run Despite New UFC Deal Photos: Miguel Cotto Grinding Hard For Sadam Ali Showdown Photos: Devon Alexander, Walter Castillo - Ready For Battle Photos: Mayweather Foundation Annual Thanksgiving Giveaway Photos: Gennady Golovkin Visits Children's Hospital in Mexico Amir Khan Fails, Screams in First 'I'm A Celebrity Bushtucker Trial' Golovkin: If Canelo Doesn't Want To Fight, I Want The WBO Belt Mayweather Boxing + Fitness Readies For Launch in Los Angeles Bellew Could Have Interim Fight Depending on Haye's Rehab Time Hearn: David Haye Was Distraught, I've Never Seen Him Like That AIBA, Wu Reach Agreement - Wu To Step Down From His Post Nico Hernandez vs. Jozsef Ajtai Set For December 2 Dillian Whyte Throws Hat In Ring To Fight Bellew, Replace Haye Tyson Fury Ready To Step In For David Haye, Fight Tony Bellew Weekend Review: Zolani Tete's Stock Rises, Frampton Wins Tough David Haye Forced Out of Bellew Rematch With Bicep Injury Warren: Carl Frampton 'Won’t Wait Around' for Leo Santa Cruz Peterson's Long Layoff 'No Concern at All' Before Spence Fight Golovkin: I'm Ready For The Rematch - Is Canelo Ready? Josh Taylor: The Next Step Could Be Anthony Yigit, Euro Title Frampton Admits: Performance Was Mediocre, But Win is a Win Eric Donovan Back on December 2, National Stadium in Dublin Bellew's Coach Expects Haye To Shed Weight, Come in Lighter Macklin Gives His Take on Frampton's Win, Conlan's TKO Loss Golovkin: If There is a Big Fight at 168 - I Would Move Up Dela Torre Vows To Bounce Back After Loss To Nyambayar Evander Holyfield Helps Boxing Take Major Fighter Safety Strides

Latest Active Forum Threads