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23 OCTOBER 2018

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Full Report: Usyk Edges Out Briedis To Unify Titles

By Dmytro Mossienko: Ukraine’s Cruiserweight WBO cruiserweight Champion Olexander (Alex) Usyk won majority decision against Latvia’s first ever WBC Cruiserweight Champion Mairis Briedis. Both fighters stepped into the ring undefeated and 33 years old Briedis (23-0) had 10 pro fights more than his Ukrainian opponent, Alex Usyk, aged 31.


They started active exchanges pretty much without much reconnaissance, Briedis send some quality leading right, some good body punches, southpaw Usyk responded his with razor sharp right jab. They met dozens of times in Klitschko brothers training camps as sparring partners and that’s pretty much where both of them became pedigree pros, even though prior to that Briedis was a very respectable pro kickboxer and Usyk was Olympic champion!


Round one was pretty even, although Usyk demonstrated a little bit more ring generalship. In round two and thee Briedis was adding up some steam, showing bit by bit some tricks prepared from his camp, in round 3 he very accurately head butted Usyk, referee Kenny Beylis called it an accidental head but, however the video repeat showed it was so accurately performed head but without slightest damage to Briedis, it could hardly be an accident.


In round 4 Usyk started mounting pressure, landed excellent uppercut to the liver, and by the end of round 5 Briedis ate a lot of leather, his nose was terribly bleeding, Usyk was adding steam, sent tremendous amount of jabs and some of his uppercuts badly hurt the Latvian fighter.


In round 6 Usyk gave himself some time to recover and Briedis was swift to respond and trying to payback, this round looked pretty even. In rounds 7-8 Usyk also was more dangerous in exchanges! His body punches drained Briedis. Usyk’s speed also was quite difficult factor for Briedis, who tried to compensate it by his excellent timing, but as long the fighter went father into the second half of the championship battle, the less accurate this timing would work!


In round 9 Briedis landed an excellent right hook, yet Usyk continued his movement and jabbing Pressing the Latvian and cutting him corners. While Briedis tried to counter attack – Usyk would swiftly change angles, so Mairis would have to miss and stop. Usyk’s pressure obviously pretty much changed Briedis plans, yet Latvian warrior remained very dangerous! After round 9 Briedis cut man Dmitry Luchnikov from Moscow had plenty of work with his cut left eyebrow, his knows and his swelling cheeks. Usyk’s face remained clear and his physical condition remained excellent. In round 10 Usyk continued pressure, Mairis had to sustained this pace, Usyk landed excellent long left hook, Mairis tried to respond to the body and missed. Briedis would more often step back, yet Usyk followed him with long combo, and eventually very often reaching the target!


Usyk’s changing angles made Briedis very often miss and in the second half even though trying to sustain the pace, Briedis obviously showed signs of slow down!


The end of round 11 caught Usyk landing several punches on Mairis head and body. At this moment Briedis face was bleeding, while Usyk’s left side of face was swelling from head buts.


In the beginning of round 12 Usyk landed three very solid left straights! He added crisp jabs from the rights, and landed flurry of punches to the body when having managed to cut the distance. In general Usyk would sit unexpectedly low and work pretty well in close quarters in spite of his height and speed advantage. Over the first two minutes of the last round Usyk landed so many punches that probably was feeling like deserving some break, Briedis rushed to show he still had guts and landed several good punches. Usyk grabbed him into the clinch. The Briedis tried to continue his pressure and Usyk caught him with a left counter punch. There was virtually no clinches in the fight as both fighters were seeking to set up an efficient attack, rather than rest in the clinch, a very honest and decent contest.


Two judges, American and Canadian scored 115:114 in favor of Usyk, one Canadian judge scored it 114:114. Special additional judge Daniel Van de Ville, whose card was supposed to be checked should the fight end up to be even, also scored the fight 114:114.


Usyk welcomed this majority decision, calling Briedis his toughest opponent to date!


At the post fight news-conference he refused to give any predictions for the final in Saudi Arabia! Mind this: while we all celebrated Christmas and New year, Alex was struggling in the gym and on the mountain road, preparing for the fight!



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cruiserweight Mikael Lawal w pts 6 Istvan Orsos
middleweight Araik Marutjan w pts 4 Richard Hegyi


Full report to follow


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