This past Saturday night, WBC World cruiserweight champion Mairis Briedis beat Mike Perez via a unanimous decision in the quarterfinals of the World Boxing Super Series tournament (WBSS).
Briedis (23-0, 18 KOs) overcame a cut eye to outpoint Mike Perez 116-110, 115-111 and 114-112 in Riga, Latvia, and set up a semifinal against undefeated WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk of Ukraine.
Briedis’ first defence of his cruiserweight title was warmly welcomed by the big crowd at the Riga Arena, but it was an untidy fight with lots of holding.
Breidis started well, landing a good right in the first round but holding had already become a feature by the second round. Perez then suffered a setback in the third when he was docked a point after a clash of heads that left the champion bleeding profusely from a cut above his left eye.
The Briedis corner stemmed the flow as the champ went on to enjoy two good rounds in the fourth and fifth, while Perez was jolted when Briedis landed a right uppercut in the seventh and held on to prevent any more damage.
More holding led to Briedis being docked a point in the tenth, but the deduction never looked like making as difference as the champions closed out the fight for a comfortable win.
“It wasn’t easy, but we did it,” said Briedis after the bout. “There are still a lot of things to work on. This was the first title defence in Latvia and the first time I was cut. I’m looking forward to my semifinal.”
Briedis is expecting a much tougher fight when he steps in the ring with Usyk.
"The fight against Perez was my first with the lefty, it's a good experience. The fight was not very complicated as it was uncomfortable. The next fight will also be with a lefty, so we will continue to work. We watched Usik's fight with Huck, and I have to do a lot of work," Briedis said.