Briedis outpoints Mike Perez, moves on to face Usyk
Mairis Briedis retained his WBC World Cruiserweight title and moved on to the Ali Trophy semi-final of the World Boxing Super Series with a decision win over Cuba’s Mike Perez.
The judges scored the fight 114-112, 115-111 and 116-110 all in favour of the 32-year-old hometown hero.
“It wasn’t easy, but we did it,” said Briedis who suffered a cut after an accidental head clash in the beginning of the fight.
“I am not happy with my performance and I am not happy about the cut, but I am happy with the result. I’m looking forward to my semi-final.”
Briedis had loud support from a full Arena Riga.
“I want to thank my fans for their incredible support in the first championship fight ever on Latvian soil. This was a big night for Latvian sport.”
The Ali Trophy quarter-final was a dramatic clash with Briedis landing most of the decisive shots and Perez coming up short in most of the duels. Briedis never looked seriously threatened, but he struggled to find a rhythm against the hard fighting southpaw.
“It was a difficult fight and it did not go as planned, but I have learned a lot of lessons tonight that I will take with me to the semi-final.”
Cuban Perez, who was fighting as a cruiserweight for only the second time, started aggressively and looked dangerous in the beginning, but lacked the consistency to really switch the fight in his favour.
Said 31-year-old Perez:
“My dream was to win the Muhammad Ali Trophy and I really believed in it, so I am very disappointed with the result, but congratulations to Mairis and all his fans.”
Briedis now moves on to face WBO Champion and Ali Trophy top seed Aleksandr Usyk who defeated Marco Huck on September 9 in the tournament opener in Germany.
“Usyk will be a different opponent. He is a former Olympic champion, he is very quick on his feet, but I know I have what it takes to beat him,” said Briedis.