By Jake Donovan
Mairis Briedis and Krzysztof Glowacki only found out days ago that the World Boxing Council (WBC) cruiserweight title would be at stake for their upcoming fight.
It didn’t at all change their already professional approach towards the event.
Both boxers were within the WBC-prescribed weight limit at the seven-day pre-fight weight check. As is the case with all WBC-sanctioned title fights, participants must be within 10% of the contracted weight 30 days out, 5% at the 14-day mark and 3% one week ahead of fight night.
Briedis checked in at 205.6 pounds over the weekend ahead of Saturday’s World Boxing Super Series semifinals showdown with Glowacki, who weighed a fit and trim 202.8 pounds. The maximum either boxer could way as per WBC rules was 206 pounds, although with the late notice there likely would’ve been come a little bit of leniency for failure to comply.
The battle of former cruiserweight titlists takes place in Briedis’ hometown of Riga, Latvia. Also on the show is the other leg of the WBSS cruiserweight bracket, as Yunier Dorticos faces unbeaten Andrew Tabiti.
The winners will collide in the tournament finals later this year.
Belts suddenly became available at least for the main event once sanctioning bodies began to separate themselves from World cruiserweight king Aleksandr Usyk, The unbeaten southpaw from Ukraine—who claimed top honors in season one of the WBSS—is presently eyeing a heavyweight run and has slowly begun to sever ties with the 200-pound division.
In the past week, both the WBC and the World Boxing Organization (WBO) have made the fuil version of their respective titles at stake in this weekend’s main event. Glowacki (31-1, 18KOs) already came in as the WBO interim titlist, having earned such honors following a 12-round win over Maksim Vlasov in the WBSS quarterfinals last October in Chicago, Ill.
On that same show, Brieidis (25-1, 18KOs) moved into the top contender position in the WBC rankings, albeit in a highly questionable 12-round win over Noel Gevor in a decision many felt should have gone the other way.
Nevertheless, it was the second straight win for the 34-year Latvian following his WBSS season one tournament exit in dropping a close decision to Usyk at home in the semifinals last January. The lone defeat of his career also ended his title reign, having won the vacant WBC title in a 12-round nod over former cruiserweight titlist Marco Huck in April 2017.
Glowacki’s career has run eerily similar to that of his upcoming opponent in that his title reign also began with a win over Huck and ended with a home loss to Usyk for his lone career defeat.
The entertaining slugger from Poland crashed upon the cruiserweight scene with his thrilling, off-the-canvas knockout win over Huck in their epic Aug. 2015 war. Their Fight-of-the-Year level title fight left Huck stuck sharing the all-time mark with England’s Johnny Nelson for the most successful cruiserweight title defenses.
Glowacki never came close to making a run at that mark, lodging just one successful defense—as did Briedis—prior to dropping a competitive but clear decision to Usyk in Sept. 2016 at home in Poland.
Five wins have followed for the 32-year old southpaw, who served as a tournament alternate for season one.
All four remaining cruiserweight participants also considered the best four fighters in the world in the wake of Usyk and WBSS season one runner-up Murat Gassiev now campaigning at heavyweight. That means a new 200-pound lineal champ will be crowned by tournament’s end.
Briedis and Glowacki have already taken an important next step towards that goal, as weight clearly doesn’t figure to be an issue heading into this weekend’s contest.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox