By Keith Idec
The four matchups for the World Boxing Super Series’ second cruiserweight tournament were announced Wednesday.
Latvia’s Mairis Briedis (24-1, 18 KOs), the No. 1 seed and a former WBC cruiserweight champ, will battle Germany’s Noel Mikaelian (23-1, 10 KOs) in the quarterfinals. The No. 2 seed, Cuba’s Yunier Dorticos (22-1, 21 KOs), will oppose Poland’s Mateusz Masternak (41-4, 28 KOs), in another quarterfinal.
Poland’s Krzysztof Glowacki (30-1, 19 KOs), seeded No. 3, and Russia’s Maksim Vlasov (42-2, 25 KOs) and Russia’s Ruslan Fayfer (23-0, 16 KOs), who’s seeded fourth, and American Andrew Tabiti (16-0, 13 KOs) also will meet in the quarterfinals.
None of the dates and sites for those four fights were revealed Wednesday. The tournament will begin sometime in October and the championship match will take place at some point next summer.
Briedis and Dorticos, who both reached the semifinals of the WBSS’ first cruiserweight tournament, are the only cruiserweights who’ve returned for the second tournament. It doesn’t include a cruiserweight champion, either, because Oleksandr Usyk walked away with four cruiserweight titles after winning the final last month.
Ukraine’s Usyk (15-0, 11 KOs), who defeated Russia’s Murat Gassiev (26-1, 19 KOs) by unanimous decision in the 12-round final July 21 in Moscow, now owns the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO cruiserweight titles. Usyk is headed for a fight against British heavyweight Tony Bellew (30-2-1, 20 KOs).
Without Usyk and Gassiev, this cruiserweight field isn’t quite as strong as the first group that participated in the WBSS. Promoter Kalle Sauerland is still excited about featuring cruiserweights in the WBSS’ second season.
“We have an amazing lineup, with eight worthy challengers that rival last season’s sensational quality,” Sauerland said. “Cruiserweight is one of the most exciting divisions. Just look at last season’s unbelievable matchups. So we are looking forward to a new season.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.