Mairis Briedis retained his WBC cruiserweight title and moved on to the semifinal round of the World Boxing Super Series tournament, thrilling the hometown crowd in Riga, Latvia, with a decision win over Cuba’s Mike Perez.
Briedis, 32, won on scores of 114-112, 115-111, and 116-110, all of which were fair. BLH scored the fight 115-111 on two separate cards, with myself and Patrick L. Stumberg coming to the same score.
Referee Massimo Barrovecchio had his hands full in this one, as Briedis (23-0, 18 KO) held constantly, and the styles never really meshed, making for an ugly clash through much of the fight. Briedis did lose a point for excessive holding in round 10, but that was equaled by a point Perez (22-3-1, 14 KO) lost in round three for an accidental head clash that caused a small cut on Briedis, which is a WBC rule.
There were bursts of action throughout, but nothing really sustained. Briedis landed the majority of the real eye-catching punches, though, and Perez, 31, really struggled to put things together over the second half of the fight, after a solid start. This was just his second fight at cruiserweight, and his first serious bout in the division. All in all, he showed he can hang at this level, for sure, but he came up short.
Briedis now moves on to face WBO champion and tournament top seed Oleksandr Usyk (13-0, 11 KO), who defeated Marco Huck on September 9 in Germany.