By Jake Donovan
Slowly—but perhaps not surely—the World Boxing Super Series is creeping back into the boxing schedule.
On the heels of a super lightweight semifinals announcement, comes news of movement in the cruiserweight bracket. Former titlists Mairis Briedis and Krzysztof Glowacki are set to collide in their semifinal clash, which will take place June 15 at Arena Riga in Briedis’ hometown of Riga, Latvia, as announced on Wednesday through the WBSS press office.
“We are expecting another exciting night at the Arena Riga,” said Kalle Sauerland, Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer. “The 200 lb. tournament is about finding the best cruiserweight for the future. Both Briedis and Glowacki are eager - and have the potential - to be that boxer and they will produce a spectacular semi-final.”
Both boxers appeared on the same card last October, scoring separate decision wins in their respective quarterfinals contests in Chicago. Briedis (25-1, 18KOs) was considered fortunate to escape with a win in his hard-fought battle with Noel Gevor, while Glowacki edged out veteran contender Maksim Vlasov to win an interim cruiserweight belt.
By the time their semifinals bout rolls around, it could be for a full title, as Oleksandr Usyk—who won the WBSS Season One cruiserweight tournament, unifying all four major titles in the process—will likely vacate by that point as he moves up to heavyweight.
Regardless, a rabid crowd is expected for Brieidis’ first home game since his loss to Usyk in their Season One WBSS semifinals contest last January. Two wins have followed, including the aforementioned close call over Gevor. That said, not even the thought of returning to the scene of his lone career loss can trump the feeling of heading back home.
“I can’t wait for the opportunity to get to the final,” said Briedis. “We are going to have another boxing celebration in Latvia that will be watched by the whole world and give me a second chance in front of my people to achieve what I missed the first season."
The fight will actually mark Glowacki’s second trip to Latvia and the third time both he and Briedis appear on the same show.
Prior to their separate co-main events last October, Glowacki appeared on the undercard of Briedis’ WBSS quarterfinals win over Mike Perez in Riga. The Polish southpaw was a cruiserweight alternate for the first season, never getting a shot to officially enter the tournament but at least granted the opportunity to extend his current win streak.
Five wins have followed his lone career loss, a Sept. ’16 decision at the hands of Usyk in his native Poland to end his cruiserweight title reign which lasted just over a year. His thrilling rise to the top began with an off-the-canvas 11th round knockout of Marco Huck in their unforgettable Aug. ’15 war but managed just a single successful title defense—outpointing former champ Steve Cunningham in April ’16 before conceding the crown to Usyk.
The majority of his career has come in front of partisan crowds, be it Poland or heavily Polish-populated cities such as Newark (NJ) and Chicago. The road trip to Latvia will mark his first big fight in hostile territory, but he openly welcomes the challenge.
“I can't wait to get in the ring in Riga,” said Glowacki. “I’m confident I'll beat Mairis on June 15 and move on and win the WBSS tournament and the Muhammad Ali Trophy!”
The winner of the June 15 bout will advance to the cruiserweight finals, where they will meet whomever prevails in the semifinals clash between former titlist Yunier Dorticos and perennial Top 10 contender Andrew Tabiti. Information regarding a date and location for that contest remains forthcoming, although at least one major cruiserweight title figures to be at stake for the remaining bouts by that point.
“By (June), the Briedis-Glowacki contest should be for the full (WBO) belt as Usyk is going to heavyweight,” Sauerland suggested to BoxingScene.com, with such a move possibly also freeing up a belt for Dorticos-Tabiti.