Dorticos-Briedis WBSS bout slated for Sept. 26

Boxing

The World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight finals between Yuniel Dorticos and Mairis Briedis has been rescheduled for Sept. 26 at the Plazamedia broadcasting centre in Munich, Germany, according to Kalle Sauerland, chief boxing officer for the WBSS.

The fight, which matches ESPN’s top two rated cruiserweights, has been postponed twice because of the coronavirus pandemic. The bout was originally scheduled for March 21, and then for May 16.

“It’s the biggest fight in boxing since the coronavirus outbreak. I can’t think of any other fight that’s bigger than this one,” Sauerland told ESPN on Tuesday. “It’s for the Muhammad Ali Trophy, the finals of the second season of the World Boxing Super Series, and it’s a sign that boxing is back.

“There’s been some great boxing on, but there hasn’t been a number one versus number two in the division, which this is.”

Dorticos (24-1, 22 KOs), the IBF belt-holder, reached the finals by scoring a unanimous decision victory against Mateusz Masternak in October 2018 and a 10th-round KO win over Andrew Tabiti in June 2019. Breidis scored a unanimous decision victory over Noel Gevor in November 2018 and a third round stoppage of Krzysztof Glowacki last summer.

“[The event] will be completely behind closed doors — we’re under very strict supervision by the local authorities,” Sauerland said.

Since Breidis is from Latvia and Breidis a Cuban based in Miami, there were some logistical hurdles that had to be climbed as both will travel to Germany for this event, which will be streamed on DAZN.

“It’s taken a lot of energy in the background, both teams have been great, very supportive of all the information we’ve needed. It’s really been an effort,” Sauerland said. “As a fan, I’m just looking forward to seeing big-time boxing back. What more can I say?”

In its short history, the WBSS has been successful in creating stars such as Oleksandr Usyk, Josh Taylor and Naoya Inoue, who have come out of the tournament with raised profiles. But the WBSS faces the question of whether their will be more seasons, given its financial problems and issues securing a major television deal in the United States.

“Nothing’s changed,” Sauerland said of the WBSS’ plans to move ahead. “Like so much in boxing, it’s been put on pause. But we’re starting to push the play button again, and we’re assessing where are we with weight classes, and time lines, and possibly we all hope to have the crowds back by the end of this year, early next year.

“We’ve been working through the lock down analyzing what the weight classes could be. But that’s a moving target right now. Boxing’s just coming back.”

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