Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Cruiserweight: Who Got Next?

image

By Cliff Rold

It’s hard to have a division more locked down than Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk (15-0, 11 KO).

Following his win over Murat Gassiev in the finals of the World Boxing Super Series, Usyk owns every major title and reestablished the lineage of the 200 lb. class. He’s not resting on his laurels either. After going on the road to Latvia and Russia to best their undefeated native sons Mairis Briedis and Gassiev respectively, he’s heading to the UK in November where he will accept the challenge of former WBC titlist Tony Bellew (30-2-1, 20 KO).

Bellew never lost his belt in the ring, won his last two at heavyweight in ultimately retiring David Haye, and hasn’t suffered a defeat since being stopped by light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson in 2013.

It’s a real fight and an upset isn’t impossible. Regardless, everyone knows who the champion at cruiserweight is. To be that man, you have to beat Usyk.

If Usyk does beat Bellew, the question will loom: does he stay or does he go? The call of heavyweight challenges, and dollars, is already loud. Whispers about how Usyk handled himself in sparring once against Wladimir Klitschko intrigue. A current heavyweight titlist in Deontay Wilder who doesn’t weigh much above the cruiserweight limit opens the door to possibilities.

Usyk could always decide to stay. Bellew could spring the upset. Regardless of the outcome in November, the question at cruiserweight will be the question that comes after any big fight.

What’s next?

In this case, more specifically, who’s next?

This Saturday, an answer should start to take shape. To what feels like less boxing fan than the bantamweight and Jr. welterweight WBSS tournaments, the second cruiserweight tournament will begin Saturday in Russia (DAZN, 1 PM EST) on the undercard the WBO 118 lb. title fight between Zolani Tete and Mikhail Aloyan. In opening quarterfinal action, #4 seed Ruslan Fayfer (23-0, 16 KO) of Russia will face unseeded TBRB #6 cruiserweight Andrew Tabiti (16-0, 13 KO) of the United States.

yunier-dorticos (5)_1

The feeling of less interest in this iteration of a cruiserweight tournament makes some sense. Last time around, every major title was on the line and the issue of a champion was resolved. That it makes sense doesn’t mean fans shouldn’t be able to get into this bracket of eight in short order. 

The matches look fun and they matter. Of the current TBRB top ten at cruiserweight, six will be in action including five of the top six. Along with Fayfer-Tabiti, the other quarterfinals are:

·      #1 seed/TBRB #1 Briedis (24-1, 18 KO) vs. Noel Gevor (23-1, 10 KO)

·      #2 seed/TBRB #4 Yunier Dorticos (22-1, 21 KO) vs. TBRB #8 Mateusz Masternak (41-4, 28 KO)

·       #3 seed/TBRB #3 Krzysztof Glowacki (30-1, 19 KO) vs. TBRB #5 Maxim Vlasov (42-2, 25 KO)

Two of them, Briedis and Dorticos, were in the semi-finals of the first tournament losing memorable encounters to Usyk and Gassiev respectively. The man Usyk beat for his first title, Glowacki, gets his crack after sitting out as an alternate the first time around. It would be great if Gassiev could also have been back but he’ll have his chances elsewhere and remains relevant. The combined record of the field is 223-9 and this Saturday will feature the lone two unbeaten men against each other. 

While there are no titles at play now, a look at the sanctioning body ratings provides a clue to how much this tournament could mean by the end. The top of each major sanctioning bodies ratings lines up well with the tournament. Currently, the top for each are:

·      WBA – Arsen Goularmirian/Vlasov (With Glowacki and Masternak at 3 and 4)

·      WBC – Briedis/Vlasov

·      IBF – Fayfer/Tabiti

·       WBO – Vlasov/Glowacki

If Usyk defeats Bellew and elects to stay at cruiserweight, or Bellew defeats Usyk and elects to defend the titles, they are likely to find a strong mandatory contender from multiple sanctioning bodies waiting for them at the end of this tournament.

If Usyk defeats Bellew and vacates his titles, one can assume at least a couple if not all the belts could end up in play by the time this WBSS final arrives. It’s not inconceivable, given the talent they will be facing, that the consensus new top two in the class in his absence would give us a new cruiserweight champion almost as quickly as we might lose one.

We don’t know where this all ends up, but it’s worth paying attention to the possible scenarios heading into Fayfer-Tabiti. For those who just want to see the best in their divisions, something the first cruiserweight tournament delivered on, this is more of the same. It’s almost everybody but the champ. No waiting and coasting for mandatory shots here.

These eight men are fighting for their place. That place could end up being a lot bigger than it appears going in.   

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by MinuteMaid5 on 10-12-2018

[QUOTE=JcLazyX210;19186138]I feel you, I totally agree. GGG is long overdue. I think Kovalev believes his power will not carry up.[/QUOTE] and also the fans know after wardn sonned him

Comment by JcLazyX210 on 10-11-2018

[QUOTE=Bronx2245;19185910]I just wanted to see if they would agree to Kovalev moving up! Some of these guys want to see everyone step up in weight except Kovalev and GGG! Since they don't think Ward won either fight, why not Usyk…

Comment by MinuteMaid5 on 10-11-2018

Shakur Stevenson Vs Ryan Garcia who yall got

Comment by MinuteMaid5 on 10-11-2018

[QUOTE=Bronx2245;19185932]So did Ward![/QUOTE] Thank J Prince Da GAWD

Comment by Bronx2245 on 10-11-2018

[QUOTE=MinuteMaid5;19185928]Both fighters retired[/QUOTE]So did Ward!

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (31)
Top Headlines Umut Camkiran vs. Adnan Redzovic in Podgorica, Montenegro Agit Kabayel vs. Otto Wallin is Ordered By The EBU Hearn: Jacobs To Fight Canelo in May If He Beats Derevyanchenko Joseph Parker vs. Alexander Flores Set Down For December 15 Cheeseman: Byfield Does Not Deserve British Title Shot Arum: Crawford-Spence Fight Could Be Made in 3 Hours! Frank Warren: Buglioni Rejected Over 100K For Yarde Fight UK News: Tommy Langford, Savannah Marshall, Sunny Edwards Hughie Fury: After I Take Out Pulev, Fans Will Talk Me & Joshua Golovkin Undecided, Still Choosing a Television Outlet Hearn: Canelo-Fielding Probably Gets DAZN 1 Million Subscribers Arum: Golovkin is Best Middleweight, He Clearly Beat Canelo! Taylor Confident He'll Beat Martin, Then Baranchyk In WBSS Semis Daniel Dubois: I Want To Fight Gorman When Time is Right Ricky Burns Back, November 17 in Atlantic City Byfield Confident of Stopping Cheeseman in One-Sided Fight Canelo: Fielding Will Be Bigger, Stronger Than Me - This is a Risk Pacquiao Says Broner Fight is "90%" Likely To Push Through Canelo: If the People Want Third Golovkin Fight, We'll Make It Photos: Scott Quigg, Kid Galahad, Daniyar Yeleussinov - Workouts Photos: Katie Taylor Putting in Work For Serrano Defense Canelo To Mayweather: Stop Hurting Boxing - Fight Me! Photos: Tevin Farmer, James Tennyson - Putting in Work Photos: Demetrius Andrade Grinds For Kautondokwa Clash Photos: Jason Quigley, Freddy Hernandez - Ready For Battle Chocolatito, Cecilia Braekhus To Return on HBO, December 8 Photos: Rob Brant Showing Off His Moves at Top Rank Gym Photos: Ryota Murata Putting in Work For Rob Brant Video: Bob Arum Reacts To Canelo's Deal With DAZN Golovkin Promoter Will Be Ringside For Murata vs. Brant Clash Hearn on Canelo-DAZN: The Whole Game is About To Change Canelo-Fielding Contracts: Rehydration Clause, 2nd-Day Weigh-In Video: Rocky Fielding Discusses Showdown With Canelo Video: Canelo Talks Fielding Fight at 168, MSG, DAZN, More Video: Eddie Hearn Talks Canelo/DAZN, Joshua, DAZN Future DAZN Exec: De La Hoya The Most Important Figure in PPV History Badou Jack's Ripper Nutrition is Expanding Out To Asian Market Photos: Canelo, Golden Boy Announce Major Deal With DAZN Photos: Canelo, Rocky Fielding - Go Face To Face in NYC Andrey Fedosov Now Looking For Much Bigger Fights
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement