Chicago crying out for WBSS Cruiserweight classic
Friday 9th November 2018
The World Boxing Super Series quarter-finals, in the red-hot Cruiserweight division, continue this weekend with the tournament travelling to Chicago as Number one seed Mairis Breidis (24-1; 18 KOs) looks to better his last attempt at unification aspirations, this time around, against German Noel Mikaelian.
Breidis was defeated by undisputed king Oleksandr Usyk in last season's debut series over the twelve round championship distance but came up short in trying to successfully defend his WBC title, losing on points but was arguably the Ukrainian's toughest opponent and test to date.
Entering the tournament for the second time, money isn't the sole motivation for the Latvian, as the 33-year-old looks to rectify his only defeat in the professional ranks to the Ukranian and go one step further, in winning the coveted Muhammad Ali trophy.
Two of the four match-ups have been decided with unbeaten top prospect Andrew Tabiti (17-0; 13 KOs) and Cuban Yunier Dorticos who both passed their first test with flying colours, the former defeating Ruslan Fayer in his backyard, on points, and the latter beating experienced campaigner and former European champion at the weight, Mateusz Masternak.
The Armenian born Mikaelian has cruised to decisions after decisions in a 24 fight career so far. On paper, Breidis's record clearly shows that he possesses more power but the durability and skill of Mikaelian could give the former world titlist some trouble over the distance.
Mikaelian has won and successfully the WBO international title to boost his world ranking but has never stepped into the elite category or come remotely close to sharing the ring with a formidable opponent such as Usyk.
His only defeat and first major step up came against former two-time (IBF & WBC) Cruiserweight champion and veteran of the sport, Krzysztof Wlodarczyk.
This will be the second time Mikaelian has faced a reputable force in the division but Breidis cannot afford to underestimate the hungry challenger.
This is almost last-chance saloon at world level for both and the opportunity to showcase their skills on the global stage. The winner will go onto the semi-finals and one step away from that career-defining payday and chance to win a version of the world title.
However, for the loser, it will be an even longer road back to the top and to remain relevant in that wider 'elite' picture.
This card in Chicago is a stacked doubleheader, which features the other highly-anticipated quarter-final leg between Krzysztof Glowacki (30-1; 19 KOS) and Maksim Vlasov (42-2; 25 KOs) for the interim WBO title.