WBSS Cruiserweight Final In Latvia
Postponed Until May 16th Due to Covid-19!
(March 15th) The WBSS Cruiserweight Final between Mairis Briedis and Yuniel Dorticos scheduled for March 21 in Riga is postponed to May 16th due to the current situation with the Coronavirus.
Local authorities in Latvia have adopted comprehensive measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, events with more than 200 people present have been prohibited until April 14.
In regard to the risk of infection, the local authorities have concluded that the WBSS Cruiserweight final is a particularly high-risk event, not only for the athletes themselves but also for all local and foreign staff involved in the organisation and conduct of the event.
For this reason, the WBSS Cruiserweight final between Mairis Briedis and Yuniel Dorticos cannot take place as planned. The new date planned for the Final in Arena Riga is May 16, however, this is, of course, dependent on the current restrictions being lifted.
The health of all those involved to stage this historic event is and will always be the primary concern of the WBSS and we will continue to carefully monitor the situation with the authorities and the athlete’s teams.
We very much regret this step and thank all involved, spectators, fans, partners and sponsors for their understanding in this extraordinary and challenging situation.
All tickets remain valid for the new date. Tickets still available can be found via bilesuserviss.lv and WorldBoxingSuperSeries.com. The final will be broadcast LIVE on DAZN in the U.S. Fans can visit DAZN.com or download the DAZN app to their preferred connected device.
“We’ve done great work in preparation until the very last planned training, but it is what it is and we will now adapt to the new situation and keep training to wait for the green light. Looking forward to fighting in front of my fans when it’s safe! Take care of yourself, people!”
“While I was in great shape and looking forward to coming to Latvia to win the Muhammad Ali Trophy, I understood the impracticality and therefore l will have have to wait until May to win the Tournament. I want to thank all my fans for their patience and I ask that everyone be careful and take the necessary steps to stay healthy during these challenging times.”
The Road to Riga:
Mairis Briedis and Yuniel Dorticos took parallel routes to the cruiserweight final of the WBSS. Briedis beat Noel Mikaelian on points in his quarter-final in Chicago and stopped Krzysztof Glowacki in Riga via TKO in the third round of a dramatic semi-final. Dorticos claimed a points victory over Mateusz Masternak in Chicago and a 10th round knockout of Andrew Tabiti in Riga – a KO that earned the ‘KO Doctor’ the ‘Knockout of the Year’ prize across multiple media.
Muhammad Ali Trophy champions:
2018-19: Naoya Inoue, Bantamweight
2018-19: Josh Taylor, Super-Lightweight
2017-18: Aleksandr Usyk, Cruiserweight
2017-18: Callum Smith, Super Middleweight
Briedis Trainer: Team Dorticos
Gives Us Extra Fuel and Motivation!
(March 10th) With just two weeks to go, Maris Briedis’ trainer Dmitrijs Šiholajs says bold statements from Team Dorticos have not gone unnoticed at Team Briedis ahead of the WBSS Cruiserweight Ali Trophy final on March 21 at the Arena Riga.
The confidence level from IBF champ Yuniel Dorticos and his team have been through the roof in the build-up proclaiming a KO and a spiritual tie to the greatest of all time. They are on a quest to write history and bring the Muhammad Ali Trophy to Miami, Florida.
“We see how Dorticos’ team is trying to convince themselves and everybody else on how strong they are but it only gives us extra fuel and motivation to train for the bout!” said Dmitrijs Šiholajs who became Briedis’ trainer after the semi-final loss to Aleksandr Usyk in January 2018.
“The history of boxing has proven that the less you talk, the more time you have to get ready and be better.”
And Team Briedis declares ready for one of the biggest sporting events ever on Latvian soil.
“The camp is going well, we’re working towards being ready for a full 12 round final. Only God will decide who’s worthy of having the Muhammad Ali trophy in his possession. But Mairis Briedis is ready to fight for it!”
Pedro Roque: “Muhammad Ali’s Spirit Is With Us!
(March 4th) Renowned Cuban coach, Pedro Roque, believes Muhammad Ali is watching over IBF champ Yuniel Dorticos in the WBSS Cruiserweight Ali Trophy Final against Mairis Briedis on March 21 at the Arena Riga.
With a little over two weeks until the final, how would you describe Yuniel’s shape and the vibe at training camp in Miami?
“The vibe has been amazing and Dorticos has been in camp with newly crowned two-time world champion Guillermo Rigondeaux, two-time world champion Rances Barthelemy and two-time world champion Erislandy Lara. He has been training hard and is in superb shape.”
You came in before the Tabiti semi-final and helped Yuniel become world champion again and qualify for the Muhammad Ali Trophy. How do you see his chances of going all the way?
“Dorticos has progressed and learned a whole lot from his last fights and the new version of the champion will showcase his ring IQ boxing skills from the Cuban school and of course his extraordinary power.”
Briedis has told that they are focusing on Yuniel’s punching power and avoiding his big punches. What are you looking at in Briedis’ boxing for your fighter to avoid?
“We don’t look at anything other than Briedis’ dirty tactics in which the whole world has seen in previous fights. Dorticos is a clean fighter and every time he gets into the ring he wants to put up a show and give boxing fans around the world the best of him. His boxing skills are on a different level and he can box or bang if need to so don’t blink come fight night because the lights might be off.”
How do you see the fight going? Yuniel has mentioned a KO, but could there be another scenario for a winning game plan?
“When the bell rings we are ready to fight 1 round or 12 rounds. The champion has mentioned a KO and that might just happen anytime. And if a knockout happens it will be a brutal one just like his last one or even better.”
You are a highly decorated trainer with Olympic gold medalists and world champions under your wings. Where would you put winning the Muhammad Ali Trophy among your triumphs?
“It will be the first time in history a Cuban trainer wins the Ali Trophy with his fighter. It will be an honour when our champion Dorticos picks up the Muhammad Ali Trophy and lifts it up in the air and no other Cuban trainer in the history of Cuban boxing has accomplished that.”
And where would you put Yuniel among Cuban greats if he takes the trophy to Miami?
“I will put him right next to Muhammad Ali because when he wins it will be in the memory and legacy of the all-time greatest. Ali’s spirit is with us and we are blessed to have him watching over our champion, his team and his family.”
You have been there and seen it all in a five-decade career, but how excited are you to be part of this final?
“I am humbled to be part of this historic moment in boxing history and the excitement is like never before in my boxing career. I can’t wait for fight night and the bell to ring!”
Tabiti: Dorticos Only Has
A Punchers Chance Against Briedis!
(February 29th) Andrew ‘The Beast’ Tabiti is ready for a comeback and believes Mairis Briedis will take home the Muhammad Ali Trophy in the WBSS cruiserweight final against IBF champion Yuniel Dorticos on March 21 at the Arena Riga.
“I see this final going the distance with Briedis winning unanimously,” said Tabiti who was stopped by Dorticos in the 10th round with a one-shot, right-hand finish in their semi-final in June in Latvia’s capital.
“The only thing Dorticos has is a punchers chance. He tries to be aggressive but Briedis needs to stick to boxing and apply pressure. I wish both fighters good luck.”
Tabiti outpointed Russia’s Ruslan Fayfer in the quarter-final in Ekaterinburg in Russia before Dorticos destroyed his dream of winning the Muhammad Ali Trophy.
“I do want to thank the WBSS for the opportunity. I had an amazing experience during the tournament,” said the 30-year-old American residing in Las Vegas.
The brutal defeat has not dampened the ambitions of a man once considered one of the division’s most exciting prospects. Tabiti still sees a bright future for himself.
“The Beast’ will be back in the ring soon and I’m staying ready so I don’t have to get ready!
“Whoever I’m in the ring with will see a new and improved ‘Beast’! Taking a loss was a humbling experience but it only made me better and more confident and dangerous! I’m going to be world champ without a doubt! I want all the belts and I’m coming for them.”
Briedis: WBSS Final Is Great Opportunity
For a Small Country with Big Hearts!
(February 23rd) Latvia’s Mairis Briedis (26-1, 19 KOs) talks about the magnitude of the WBSS Cruiserweight Ali Trophy final four weeks ahead of his hotly-anticipated encounter with Yuniel Dorticos (24-1, 22 KOs) at the Arena Riga.
“The camp is going well,” said Briedis after completing his first week of sparring. “With four weeks to the fight, we are at a stage where we still have time for the things we have planned. But the time is limited so we are trying to take full advantage of each training session.”
To reach the 200lbs final Briedis beat Germany’s Noel Mikaelian unanimously on points in his quarter-final in Chicago and stopped Poland’s Krzysztof Glowacki in Riga via TKO in the third round of a dramatic semi-final. Every fight poses a different challenge to the tournament No. 1 seed.
“The final against Dorticos can’t be compared to the Glowacki fight for example,” told the former two-time world champion. “I am gaining experience from every elite fight I have, but the opponents are different in each fight, each has their own set of skills, their own style and we are preparing differently for each opponent.”
Briedis has stated that the final ‘is going to be a thrilling fight as I’m facing one of the very best cruiserweights on the planet.’ And he is going to face Dorticos, the Cuban KO artist in front of thousands of his countrymen at the Arena Riga.
“It’s been great to hear that the tickets sales are flying!” said the Latvian sports hero. “It makes me really happy that it looks like it will be sold out. This final for the Ali Trophy is a huge event for Latvia with the whole world watching. This will be a great opportunity to show that a rather small country like Latvia has big hearts, that we are big as a nation and ready to host the highest level of sports events in the world.”
Dorticos, the IBF champ, booked his place in the final via a points victory over Poland’s Mateusz Masternak in Orlando and a 10th round knockout of USA’s Andrew Tabiti in Riga – a KO that earned the ‘KO Doctor’ the IBF title and ‘Knockout of the Year’ prize across multiple media.
5 Weeks to Go! Dorticos:
“I Can’t Wait to Come Back to Riga!
(February 17th) When the visiting finalist, Yuniel Dorticos, broke down and knocked out Andrew Tabiti in Riga in June to secure a spot in the 200lbs final, he gained fans in the hometown of his opponent, Mairis Briedis. The Arena Riga is not the lion’s den, but a home away from home.
“I truly feel at home in Riga,” said the Cuban IBF champ based in Miami, Florida. “The people and fans in Latvia are amazing. I felt their support in June – I don’t expect them to support me against their hero – but I feel they respect what I’m capable of and I was received with open arms when I visited the city in January for the kickoff press conference. It Latvia they know what boxing is about.
“I’m training harder than ever and can’t wait to come back. It doesn’t get bigger than fighting for the Muhammad Ali Trophy at a sold-out arena. The fans can expect a fight that will go down in history books as a classic.”
Briedis and Dorticos can expect to battle it out in front of a capacity crowd in their WBSS Cruiserweight Ali Trophy final at the Arena Riga on March 21.
“Tickets are selling at phenomenal speed, this event is going to sell out!” said Kalle Sauerland, Chief Boxing Officer of the WBSS. “Most of the low-price category are gone and the last batch of tickets has now been released. We can’t predict the outcome of the final, but we already know it’s going to be electric on March 21 inside the Arena Riga.”
Briedas and Dorticos Face to Face In Riga
We Are Going to See a War!
(January 24th) Both Mairis Briedis (26-1, 19 KOs) and Yuniel ‘The KO Doctor’ Dorticos (24-1, 22 KOs) prescribe defeat to each other after meeting in Latvia on Wednesday to kick off their hotly-anticipated WBSS Cruiserweight Ali Trophy final at the Arena Riga on March 21.
“It’s great to be in Riga,” said Kalle Sauerland, Chief Boxing Officer of the World Boxing Super Series. “It’s an amazing opportunity to present the final for the biggest and greatest prize in boxing.
“We present the two greatest cruiserweights on the planet. The two best sportsmen of the division. Two guys who have been there and done it all before. Two-time world champions. We, the WBSS, are so proud to be working with these athletes fighting for a trophy in the name of Muhammad Ali, the greatest of the sport.
“The tickets are flying and we expect to sell out within hours if not days. It’s going to be an epic event. We are going to see an absolute war on March 21!”
Dorticos, the Miami-based Cuban holding the IBF title, was oozing confidence on the stage.
“I’m excited to be here, I feel like I’m at home here in Latvia,” he told. “My prediction is simple; on March 21st you will know why I’m called the ‘KO Doctor’. I’m humbled to be part of this tournament and fight for the Muhammad Ali Trophy. That trophy has my name on it and I’m going to take it home.”
Briedis responded to Dorticos’s prediction by revealing a nickname from earlier in his career.
“My nickname used to be the ‘Traumatologist’,” the Latvian told. “Two doctors are going to face each other in the ring, so let’s see who comes out on top. To win the trophy would be a great celebration for Latvia, but now it’s about putting in the hard work to not let anyone down.
“I believe we can expect a great fight because my opponent is a great fighter. I hope he is not just a loudspeaker…
“I’m happy the fight is taking place in Riga. It’s additional weight on my shoulders, but we’ll be ready!”