Latvia’s Mairis Briedis (26-1, 19 KOs) talks about the magnitude of the WBSS Cruiserweight Ali Trophy final four weeks ahead of his hotly-anticipated encounter with Yuniel Dorticos (24-1, 22 KOs) at the Arena Riga.
“The camp is going well,” said Briedis after completing his first week of sparring. “With four weeks to the fight, we are at a stage where we still have time for the things we have planned. But the time is limited so we are trying to take full advantage of each training session.”
To reach the 200lbs final Briedis beat Germany’s Noel Mikaelian unanimously on points in his quarter-final in Chicago and stopped Poland’s Krzysztof Glowacki in Riga via TKO in the third round of a dramatic semi-final. Every fight poses a different challenge to the tournament No. 1 seed.
“The final against Dorticos can’t be compared to the Glowacki fight for example,” told the former two-time world champion. “I am gaining experience from every elite fight I have, but the opponents are different in each fight, each has their own set of skills, their own style and we are preparing differently for each opponent.”
Briedis has stated that the final ‘is going to be a thrilling fight as I’m facing one of the very best cruiserweights on the planet.’ And he is going to face Dorticos, the Cuban KO artist in front of thousands of his countrymen at the Arena Riga.
“It’s been great to hear that the tickets sales are flying!” said the Latvian sports hero. “It makes me really happy that it looks like it will be sold out. This final for the Ali Trophy is a huge event for Latvia with the whole world watching. This will be a great opportunity to show that a rather small country like Latvia has big hearts, that we are big as a nation and ready to host the highest level of sports events in the world.”
Dorticos, the IBF champ, booked his place in the final via a points victory over Poland’s Mateusz Masternak in Orlando and a 10th round knockout of USA’s Andrew Tabiti in Riga – a KO that earned the ‘KO Doctor’ the IBF title and ‘Knockout of the Year’ prize across multiple media.
Dorticos: “I can’t wait to come back to Riga!”
When the visiting finalist, Yuniel Dorticos, broke down and knocked out Andrew Tabiti in Riga in June to secure a spot in the 200lbs final, he gained fans in the hometown of his opponent, Mairis Briedis. The Arena Riga is not the lion’s den, but a home away from home.
“I truly feel at home in Riga,” said the Cuban IBF champ based in Miami, Florida. “The people and fans in Latvia are amazing. I felt their support in June – I don’t expect them to support me against their hero – but I feel they respect what I’m capable of and I was received with open arms when I visited the city in January for the kickoff press conference. It Latvia they know what boxing is about.
“I’m training harder than ever and can’t wait to come back. It doesn’t get bigger than fighting for the Muhammad Ali Trophy at a sold-out arena. The fans can expect a fight that will go down in history books as a classic.”
Briedis and Dorticos can expect to battle it out in front of a capacity crowd in their WBSS Cruiserweight Ali Trophy final at the Arena Riga on March 21.
“Tickets are selling at phenomenal speed, this event is going to sell out!” said Kalle Sauerland, Chief Boxing Officer of the WBSS. “Most of the low-price category are gone and the last batch of tickets has now been released. We can’t predict the outcome of the final, but we already know it’s going to be electric on March 21 inside the Arena Riga.”
‘We are going to see a war!’
Both Mairis Briedis (26-1, 19 KOs) and Yuniel ‘The KO Doctor’ Dorticos (24-1, 22 KOs) prescribed defeat to each other after meeting in Latvia on Wednesday to kick off their hotly-anticipated WBSS Cruiserweight Ali Trophy final at the Arena Riga on March 21.
“It’s great to be in Riga,” said Kalle Sauerland, Chief Boxing Officer of the World Boxing Super Series. “It’s an amazing opportunity to present the final for the biggest and greatest prize in boxing.
“We present the two greatest cruiserweights on the planet. The two best sportsmen of the division. Two guys who have been there and done it all before. Two-time world champions. We, the WBSS, are so proud to be working with these athletes fighting for a trophy in the name of Muhammad Ali, the greatest of the sport.
“The tickets are flying and we expect to sell out within hours if not days. It’s going to be an epic event. We are going to see an absolute war on March 21!”
Dorticos, the Miami-based Cuban holding the IBF title, was oozing confidence on the stage.
“I’m excited to be here, I feel like I’m at home here in Latvia,” he told. “My prediction is simple; on March 21st you will know why I’m called the ‘KO Doctor’. I’m humbled to be part of this tournament and fight for the Muhammad Ali Trophy. That trophy has my name on it and I’m going to take it home.”
Briedis responded to Dorticos’s prediction by revealing a nickname from earlier in his career.
“My nickname used to be the ‘Traumatologist’,” the Latvian told. “Two doctors are going to face each other in the ring, so let’s see who comes out on top. To win the trophy would be a great celebration for Latvia, but now it’s about putting in the hard work to not let anyone down.
“I believe we can expect a great fight because my opponent is a great fighter. I hope he is not just a loudspeaker…
“I’m happy the fight is taking place in Riga. It’s additional weight on my shoulders, but we’ll be ready!”
Tickets for the incredible Mairis Briedis vs Yuniel Dorticos Ali Trophy showdown are on sale from €29 via bilesuserviss.lv and WorldBoxingSuperSeries.com. The final will be broadcast live on DAZN in the U.S. Fans can visit DAZN.com or download the DAZN app to their preferred connected device.