As the highly anticipated WBSS Cruiserweight semi-final between WBC Champion Mairis Briedis and WBO Champion Oleksandr Usyk quickly approaches, FightTalk.net spoke exclusively to Southampton based promoter and manager of Mairis Briedis, Al Siesta about the Cruiserweight unification fight.
“He is a Rain Man, let me tell you my opinion about Briedis; He is very intelligent, very crafty, he is a lie detector himself. He’s one of those guys, anything he touches he’ll be good at it. One time I was in the car with him and the radio was playing whilst Briedis was singing along and I thought to myself, he’s not a bad singer.”
Briedis being a police captain in his native Latvia, I was starting to understand Al’s confidence in his fighter and his high opinion on the mental toughness of the WBC Cruiserweight World champion.
“He has got the biggest survival instinct I have ever seen. He will break things that can’t be broke, which I think transpires in the ring. He is a very hard guy to beat! Olkesandr Usyk? he’s in trouble, I’m telling you! Briedis is very good at reading emotions.”
Oleksandr Usyk is touted as a clear favourite in the upcoming fight set to take place at the Arena Riga in the Latvian capital on January 27th. I had to wonder how the Briedis team was preparing for the Latvian World champion’s biggest test to date.
“Our team is very tight, we have everybody involved trying to perform on the highest level. Mairis himself is a supreme athlete and the relationship he has with the team is impeccable. His trainer is a professional athlete for 20 years; he knows all about sport science and knows how to get the maximum performance from his athletes. He’s very intelligent and a connoisseur of boxing his trainer. His strength and conditioning coach has his own academy in Latvia, so our team is very knowledgeable.”
Many will be surprised by the confidence from Al Siesta especially as Oleksandr Usyk has worked his way into many top ten pound-for-pound rating alongside Usyk being seeded as the number 1 draw by the WBSS. However, Mairis Briedis turning up to a fight as the underdog is nothing new for him and his team. In 2015 Mairis Briedis had no hesitation to move up to Heavyweight and knock out the current WBA Heavyweight Champion, Manuel Charr in a fight he was expected to lose comfortably by many. In 2017 Briedis found himself in a similar position as he took on long reigning Cruiserweight Champion Marco Huck for the vacant WBC title, again Briedis upset the odds taking a unanimous decision over Huck in his adopted home of Germany.
The World Boxing Super Series has galvanized boxing fans and given true hope to one champion in every division, where the best fight the best. I was curious to know Siesta’s opinion on the ambitious project created by Richard Schaefer and Kalle Sauerland.
“I love this idea; it’s amazing for the sport. The Sauerland’s have been very brave; it’s very ambitious with massive finance behind it. I would say the Cruiserweight version of tournament is the most competitive as Cruiserweight division is one of the most exciting division in World boxing, every fighter is a beast; Gassiev, Dorticos, Usyk, Brieidis and even the rest of the guys: Kalenga, Durodola, Vlasov, Kudryashov, the top 20 is incredible and I almost forgot Lebedev. The division is packed!”
By Adam Noble-Forcey