Mairis Briedis can now pretty confidently call himself the best cruiserweight in the world, following today’s clear — if not to all three judges — decision win over Yuniel Dorticos.
The win gives Briedis (27-1, 19 KO) the IBF title, which Dorticos was defending, as well as the previously-vacant Ring Magazine championship and the Muhammad Ali Trophy, as this fight was the final bout of the World Boxing Super Series tournament that began in 2018.
The 35-year-old Briedis took the fight on scores of 114-114, 117-111, and 117-111, with BLH also scoring it 117-111 for the Latvian. The 114-114 score is dramatically generous to Dorticos (24-2, 22 KO). The Cuban was in the fight pretty much the whole way, but Briedis just kept being the better fighter, and the rounds just kept adding up in his favor.
Dorticos, 34, is now 2-2 in his last four fights, but will remain a top contender at cruiserweight if he keeps fighting. There have been some hints he might hang up the gloves, having won world titles and competed in two major tournaments. Like Briedis, he was a semifinalist in the first WBSS cruiserweight tournament.
Briedis looked better here than he has in some of his recent outings, too, and closer to the guy who pushed Oleksandr Usyk to the limit in 2018. But while he’s now going to be widely considered the top dog at 200 pounds, he isn’t young, and there are guys coming up the ranks. It is, as usual, a crowded division with a lot of quality fighters who aren’t terrible far apart from one another in terms of skill and ability.
It was also a good fight, though it lacked any huge drama or anything of that sort. Not a Fight of the Year contender or anything, but a consistent, high-level bout between two very good fighters.
- Dennis Radovan UD-10 Nuhu Lawal: Lawal (27-8, 15 KO) came in for this fight on extremely short notice, less than 24 hours, when Radovan’s original opponent pulled out. This wound up being what the commentary admitted was “glorified sparring,” going the 10-round distance with no drama whatsoever. The 27-year-old Radovan, a middleweight prospect, improves to 14-0-1 (6 KO) on scores of 100-90 three times.
- Leon Bunn UD-8 Timo Laine: A shutout win for the 28-year-old Bunn, with 80-72 cards across the board. They kept calling this Bunn’s “super middleweight debut,” but it was a 170 catchweight, so more a move toward super middleweight as he comes down from light heavy. Bunn (16-0, 8 KO) doesn’t really have the look of a real world level player, but he could certainly get a Sebastian Formella/Vincent Feigenbutz sort of shot in a PBC on FOX main event. I mean, Caleb Plant is right there with a belt at 168 and seems to do surprisingly good TV numbers no matter his opponent, and we know how PBC are loath to put actual good matchups in FOX main events. Don’t shoot the brilliant crystal ball man (me) if this actually happens.
- Sophie Allisch UD-8 Edina Kiss: The 30-year-old Hungarian veteran Kiss (15-14, 9 KO) continues to inch her way toward a .500 record, but she clearly felt she’d done enough to win this fight. Scores were 77-75, 77-75, and 78-74. The DAZN commentators thought 77-75 was fine, but that 78-74 was pushing it. Allisch, who is still just 18 years old, is now 6-0 (1 KO).