They only remember those who win, not those who lose.
In 2018, Oleksandr Usyk won the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS). The win netted him every world title in the Cruiserweight division as well as a spot on every pound for pound list.
Lost among all of those wins was the one he scored against Mairis Briedis (27-1, 19 KOs). Fast forward two years later, and Briedis wasn’t going to come up short for a second time.
With Usyk moving up to bigger and better things in the heavyweight division, Briedis steamrolled everyone during year two of the WBSS. He easily defeated Noel Gevor in the first round and followed that up with a quick third round stoppage against Krzysztof Glowacki in the semi’s. In the finals, he met up against Yuniel Dorticos (24-2, 22 KOs), a man who also suffered heartbreak in the 2018 WBSS.
Things played out at a fast pace early on.
Briedis, normally a patient fighter, came out aggressive. He came straight ahead and didn’t allow himself to get bullied.
With a nickname such as “The KO Doctor,” Dorticos appreciated the aggression of Briedis and found a good home for his right hand.
For the most part, Briedis was mostly in control. He was clearly the better boxer and proved it often. Dorticos relied heavily on one big punch but never quite found his money punch.
After early success though, the momentum began turning. Dorticos forgot about his head hunting tactics and went down to the body. If he was hoping to slow down his man because of it then his mission was accomplished as Briedis began moving more and more cautiously.
With so many stoppage wins under his belt, Dorticos was accustomed to taking his opponents out early. It may do wonders for his knockout percentage, but just like in previous fights, his stamina was severely lacking in the second half of the fight.
Briedis took full advantage of his opponents gas tank and poured on the pressure. Dorticos still fought back, but the punches he threw had very little on them.
With the end of the fight approaching, Briedis threw his gear in cruise control and took home a majority decision victory.
Final Grade For Mairis Briedis: A
The Cruiserweight division has never been a particularly deep one. So when Oleksandr Usyk packed up his bags and headed to the land of the big men, Briedis became the new man to beat in the division.
The Latvian native did every and anything that he wanted tonight. At the age of 35, and the size advantage in the heavyweight division possibly too much for him, maybe this could be the end of the road for him.
If it is, Briedis accomplished exactly what he wanted.
“It feels like a dream come true,” said Briedis following his win. “This is the Olympic medal I’ve always wanted.”