Today at 3:30 pm ET on ITV Box Office in the United Kingdom, cruiserweight world titles will be unified in the semifinal round of the World Boxing Super Series tournament, as WBO titleholder Oleksandr Usyk faces WBC titleholder Mairis Briedis.
Usyk (13-0, 11 KO) is on the road in Riga, Latvia, for this fight, but is still the favored fighter, as most see him as the top cruiserweight in the world right now. Briedis (23-0, 18 KO) will look to pull the year’s first significant upset in his hometown.
To get here, Usyk stopped Marco Huck in the 10th round last September, while Briedis outpoined Mike Perez three weeks later. The winner will move on to the World Boxing Super Series final, where he’ll await the winner of the Murat Gassiev-Yunier Dorticos fight.
We can’t guarantee we’ll have live, round-by-round coverage today, but we’ll do our best to bring you live updates of this big fight, and if you’re lucky enough to be able to watch it on TV live as it happens, this is a place to talk about it in the moment.
- Oleksandr Usyk def. Mairis Briedis by majority decision (114-114, 115-113, 115-113)
OLEKSANDR USYK vs MAIRIS BRIEDIS
Round 1: Usyk popping his jab out to start, establishing range early. Staying very active with that jab as a range finder. Briedis bulls in a couple times and throws when he gets there, some encouraging stuff, and he’s touching the body a little. Tight round, not big on action or any significant shots, really. Usyk’s jab was his weapon, Briedis looks like he’s got a legit plan. I shade to the home fighter. Usyk is feeling it out. Briedis 10-9
Round 2: Usyk starting to throw his hook in this round, stuck mostly with the jab and a couple lefts in the opening frame. Briedis isn’t going anywhere, which is good to see. He’s here to fight his fight. Usyk finding more of a home for his shots. But still, Briedis is right there. Another close round, depends what you like. They seemed to land about equal, and stats back that up. Briedis 10-9, 20-18
Round 3: A little more body work from Briedis. If he really puts emphasis on that, it could be huge. But starting in the second, Usyk is landing some power shots, too. This fight feels like one that’s going to get hot. There’s really no clinching. Usyk popped with an accidental headbutt, might be cut on the forehead. He is. I shade this round to Usyk. Usyk 10-9, Briedis 29-28
Round 4: Boy, this fight has been interesting. Really good offensive approach from both guys, styles meshing well, no lulls in action. It’s just world class, high-level boxing. Briedis trying to attack in close, and doing a pretty good job. He’s landing a lot more than I expected he would, honestly. The left hook is working nicely, and he continues to look to the body often enough for it to matter. Briedis 10-9, 39-37
Round 5: Briedis is stinging Usyk a fair amount. He gets to him again early in this round, landing a shot upstairs and following to the body. He’s not letting Usyk develop a rhythm. But then here comes Usyk in the second minute of the round, finding some openings. Briedis might have put too much into the first 4.5 rounds, he looks like he’s physically slowing down all of a sudden. Usyk, also as suddenly, appears very confident. Briedis started this round well, but Usyk took over convincingly in the second half. Usyk 10-9, Briedis 48-47
Round 6: Usyk might be starting to take this fight over. Briedis looking the worse for wear at this point. Still fighting with a plan, still trying, but Usyk looks fresher. Briedis trying to pour on some pressure, shoves Usyk who goes down, Kenny Bayless rightly rules it a push. But Briedis is really plugging away still. Usyk doing the cleaner work, perhaps. Better sixth for Briedis, though, his effort was really something. He still looks the more tired and there’s half a fight to go. Briedis 10-9, 58-56
Round 7: Usyk now looking right where he wants to be. I mean he’d probably prefer to be up 7-0, but he’s not, and the second half of this fight is looking good for him. Briedis still fighting, but he’s starting to get busted up and worn down. This was a nice round for the WBO champ, he hurt Briedis noticeably on a hook. Usyk 10-9, Briedis 67-66
Round 8: Usyk is turning the screws now, forcing Briedis to fight off the back foot consistently, which is making a huge difference. Usyk starting to have his way a bit these last few rounds, and it’s paying off big now. If this comes down to conditioning, it looks like Usyk’s is superior. Usyk 10-9, 76-76
Round 9: Briedis still making Usyk work for it, for what it’s worth. I don’t mean to say Usyk is starting to run away with things. He’s just in better position down the stretch, or so it seems to me. Briedis lands a couple decent power shots early in this round, but Usyk keeps working the jab and throwing the left from range. Briedis drills him with some shots in this round but Usyk barely budges. Briedis landed the best stuff, and he’s just not going away. Briedis 10-9, 86-85
Round 10: Big, big round for Usyk, who I think needed it. Again, Briedis is not going away. Usyk is often doing the cleaner work, but Briedis is matching it with pure effort a lot of the time. But this was a clear Usyk round. I think I’ve had two or three rounds clear, two of them for Usyk. This fight’s been so good and competitive. Usyk 10-9, 95-95
Round 11: Liked Usyk again this round, same reasons as the 10th. He’s controlling the tempo for the most part and doing his work. Briedis still there, but Usyk better right now. He finally seems to be separating himself, but the 12th should be all hanging out. Usyk 10-9, 105-104
Round 12: Briedis lets it pretty much all go in the 12th. Usyk right there with him. Can’t call this an instant classic or a likely Fight of the Year contender, but it was a terrific fight all the way through. No huge drama, but a hell of an effort from two class cruiserweights. I liked Briedis this round, which pulls the whole thing even for me. He won the round in the final minute. He may have ultimately won the fight in the final minute. Briedis 10-9, 114-114