Ah, the lure of the heavyweight division.
Mairis Briedis, who achieved a whole lot as a cruiserweight, has announced on social media that he is moving up to heavyweight, this in his next fight. The 36 year old with the 27-1(19) record was last seen beating Yuniel Dorticos in the WBSS final back in September of 2020. The IBF cruiserweight champ says he is “not afraid to take the step” up to heavyweight.
If Briedis does move north a few pounds, he will be joining the likes of Oleksandr Usyk (the only man to have beaten Briedis), David Haye, Marco Huck and the greatest cruiserweight ever to have done it, Evander Holyfield, in his quest to reign supreme in the sport’s premiere weight division. But can Briedis do it?
The skilled, experienced and seriously tough Briedis seems to have all the tools – speed, decent power, chin, stamina, heart – apart from maybe height and reach. And of course we don’t know how the adding on of something like 20 pounds will suit Briedis. In this age of huge heavyweights, monsters indeed, it’s a very hard thing for even the special cruiserweights to be able to mix it in the land of the giants.
It is, as fans know, the biggest leap in all of boxing, or at least it can be – going from 200 pounds to unlimited; with the cruiserweight in question possibly having to face a man who weighs anything from 245 to 260 pounds. Is Briedis capable of beating the likes of Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, or even the “small” heavyweights? Maybe Briedis should try his hand at bridgerweight? Then again, Briedis looking for the glory and the big money only the heavyweight division can bring.
And conquering the heavyweight division, or even a portion of it, would certainly give Briedis that goal/challenge. Just imagine an Usyk-Breidis II, for example,at heavyweight – this of course assuming Usyk beats Anthony Joshua in September.
Another fighter who says he has his eye on both the cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions, is unbeaten Mexican Gilberto Ramirez. Ramirez, who was a WBO super-middleweight champ and has gone 2-0 as a 175 pounder (41-0 with 27 KO’s overall) told Ringtv.com how he plans to “win all the belts (at light-heavyweight) and eventually move up to cruiserweight and heavyweight as well, why not?”
Why not indeed. The greats have been able to do it. Are Briedis and Ramirez (who stands a little over the 6’2″ mark and faces Sullivan Barrera on Friday night) set to join the great ones?