by Cliff Rold
Maybe we are soon to find out who has taken over cruiserweight in a post-Usyk landscape.
Maybe Usyk surprises all and comes back down the scale to defend his crown one more time.
Regardless, after this weekend we will be down to a two-man debate. Lots of leather will fly before then as four of the best cruiserweights in the world battle over three major sanctioning body titles and a chance to advance.
So often, boxing tournaments go awry. Two rounds of eight in a row, cruiserweight has held together.
Let’s get into both fights kicking off with undercard action on DAZN Saturday at 2 PM EST:
Stats and Stakes
Previous Titles: WBC cruiserweight (2017-18, 1 Defense)
Weight: 198 ¼ lbs.
Hails from: Riga, Latvia
Record: 25-1, 18 KO
Press Rankings: #1 (TBRB, Ring), #2 (Boxing Monthly, BoxRec), #5 (ESPN)
WBSS Seed: 1
Record in Major Title Fights: 2-1
Last Five Opponents: 109-7-3 (.929)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced: Marco Huck UD12; Oleksandr Usyk L12
Titles: WBO cruiserweight (2019-present, 1stattempted defense)
Previous Titles: WBO cruiserweight (2015-16, 1 defense)
Weight: 197 ½ lbs.
Hails from: Walcz, Poland
Record: 31-1, 19 KO
Press Rankings: #2 (ESPN), #4 (TBRB, Ring, Boxing Monthly, BoxRec)
WBSS Seed: 3
Record in Major Title Fights: 2-1, 1 KO (3-1, 1 KO including interim title fights)
Last Five Opponents: 123-9 (.932)
Current/Former World Champions Faced: Marco Huck KO11; Steve Cunningham UD12; Oleksandr Usyk L12
The Pick: Glowacki has been upgraded to full WBO titlist after winning the interim belt in the quarterfinal. In terms of common opponents, Glowacki had the better finish against a better version of Huck but went through far more hell to get there. Both men have taken their only loss to Usyk with Briedis being far more competitive. Glowacki was more impressive in the quarters and the way he alternates between pressing and looking for sneaky power counters will make Briedis work. The feeling though, with his hometown fans to back him, is Briedis is the more versatile fighter and a hair quicker as well. The pick is Briedis on a decision. Who will he face in the finals?
Previous Titles: WBA cruiserweight (2016-18, 1 Defense)
Weight: 199 ¼ lbs.
Hails from: Miami, Florida (Born in Cuba)
Record: 23-1, 21 KO, 1 KOBY
Press Rankings: #3 (TBRB, Ring), #4 (ESPN), #5 (Boxing Monthly), #6 (BoxRec)
WBSS Seed: 2
Record in Major Title Fights: 1-1, 1 KO, 1 KOBY (2-1, 2 KO, 1 KOBY including interim title fights)
Last Five Opponents: 136-18-1 (.881)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced: Murat Gassiev TKO by 12
Titles/Previous Titles: None
Weight: 199 ¼ lbs.
Hails from: Chicago, Illinois
Record: 17-0, 13 KO
Press Rankings: #5 (TBRB), #6 (Ring, Boxing Monthly), #8 (ESPN)
WBSS Seed: Unseeded
Record in Major Title Fights: No title fights
Last Five Opponents: 101-10-3 (.899)
Current/Former World Champions Faced: Steve Cunningham UD10
The Pick: The interim IBF belt is at stake; expect that to be the full strap by the final. Tabiti was and remains the dark horse of the tournament, a gamble by Mayweather Promotions on a fighter who wasn’t getting any younger and needed a big opportunity. This is the toughest fight of his career to date on paper and Dorticos is a tall order. The Cuban has a deep reservoir of experience, an educated jab, and one of the best simple one-two combinations in the sport. Dorticos is also the older man with more miles on him; his wars with Youri Kalenga and Murat Gassiev were great for fans but they didn’t extend his career. Dorticos seemed to fade in spots late even as he beat Mateusz Masternakin the quarters. Tabiti has the least wear of anyone in the semi-finals and appears quicker than Dorticos but sometimes can hold his guns in the holster more than he should. If Tabiti lets his hands go and can handle early heat from Dorticos, and it says here he can, this corner likes the American for the mild upset.
Additional Weekend Picks
Tyson Fury TKO Tom Schwarz
Josh Warrington Dec. Kid Galahad
Jesse Hart TKO Sullivan Barrera
Rold Picks 2019: 37-11
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]