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Breakdown: Oleksandr Usyk vs. Mairis Briedis fight preview and prediction

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This weekend, the World Boxing Super Series returns with a major Cruiserweight semi-final fight.

Welcome back WBSS! This Saturday, the World Boxing Super Series returns with their first semi-final fight, and it’s a big one. Ring Magazine’s #1 ranked Cruiserweight and WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk (13-0; 11 KO) faces the #3 ranked WBC champion Mairis Briedis (23-0; 18 KO). Winner walks away with two major world titles, and moves on to the finals, where he will likely add a third. The fight takes place this Saturday, January 27 with a fight time of 3:30 p.m. ET and will air on ITV Box Office in the UK for those who can track it down.

How do these two stack up?

Usyk: 31 years old | 6’3” | 78″ reach | southpaw stance
Briedis: 33 years old | 6’1″ | 80″ reach | orthodox stance

What have these two done recently?

Usyk: W – Marco Huck (TKO) | W – Michael Hunter (UD) | W – Thabiso Mchunu (TKO)
Briedis: W – Mike Perez (UD) | W – Marco Huck (UD) | W – Simon Vallily (TKO)

How did these two get here?

Oleksandr Usyk has a similar pedigree to his countryman Vasyl Lomachenko – an Olympic Gold medalist with a terrific pro record. Usyk has fast risen up the ranks, and though he’s only a 4 year pro, he’s the tournament favorite for many. He comes in off his quarterfinal win over Marco Huck, and has been fighting a steady level of quality opposition lately. He may not have the style that Lomachenko brings to the table, but his skills are undeniable.

Briedis fights out of Latvia and has been a pro since 2009. He too is undefeated, and is looking to make the 2nd defense of his WBC title here. For his quarterfinal, he took a decision over former Heavyweight Mike Perez – prior to that, he had a decision victory over Huck. The Perez fight was a close one, and this fight will help us get a better sense of just how good Briedis is.

What can fans expect?

This is probably not going to be a wild fireworks kind of fight – that’s just not these two men’s styles. Instead, look for a technical affair with both trying to implement their game. Fair warning – it’s possible that translates to “boring.” But it will be competed at a very high level. Gut instinct says Usyk is the better man, but whoever wins this makes a huge statement.
Prediction: Oleksandr Usyk, UD

Who should watch?

Boxing fans always complain about not getting the best fighting the best, and rightfully so. Well, here we are. Arguably the top two (and if not, 2 of the top 3) in the division, fighting to unify a title. It’s a shame the audience will be inherently limited due to the lack of a good US TV deal for the WBSS, but it’s worth hunting around for this one.

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