WBO Cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk made his way to the final of the World Boxing Super Series on Saturday night, edging a close majority decision verdict over the now former WBC champion Mairis Briedis at the Riga Arena in Riga, Latvia.
The fight was competitive throughout, putting forth a great advertisement for the series that most will label as a classic. Briedis started strong in an effort to try sap some of the strength from the Ukrainian with hard body shots.
A cut opened on the eye of Usyk after a clash of heads in the third which needed a closer inspection from the ringside physician, but the contest was never in trouble of ending prematurely, much to the delight of the onlooking support.
Although Briedis looked bright early, It seemed that it was only a matter of time before Usyk started to impose his will on the bout, taking control of the contest at the midway point, using a jab to set up straight left hands that jolted back the head of the hometown fighter.
Regardless of the opinion that Usyk had gotten his nose in front, Briedis continued to try and find a way back into the fight but unfortunately for his hometown support he ultimately ran out of time as judges Robert Tapper and Robin Taylor rendered scores of 115-113 whilst Canada’s Craig Metcalfe, had it even 114-114.
The now unified champion (Usyk) will face the winner of next week’s IBF/WBA unification clash between Murat Gassiev and Yunier Dorticos in the WBSS final on May 11 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.