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2017-08-24
The World Boxing Super Series (Part 1 - Cruiserweight Bracket)
Pictured: TTR's #1 ranked cruiserweight contender, Oleksandr Usyk, the reigning WBO World Junior Heavyweight Champion


The World Boxing Super Series (Part 1 - Cruiserweight Bracket)

Coming up in early September will be the start of the exciting World Boxing Super Series. I figured it might be interesting to take a look at the Quarter Finals in both the Cruiserweight and Super Middleweight brackets, break down the matchups, predict the winners, and all that jazz. So let's get to it.


Match 1: Oleksandr Usyk vs Marco Huck (September 9)

Usyk is the top cruiserweight in the world right now and the heavy favorite coming into the tournament in the cruiserweight bracket. He'd be wise, however, not to overlook his first opponent in the tournament. Marco Huck was one of the longest reigning cruiserweight champions of all time and, though his best days seem to be behind him, he's still a tough out. Usyk has been on quite a tear. Only 12 fights into his pro career, and he's already seen as the #1 cruiserweight out there in the eyes of most, having defeated Glowacki, Mchunu and the unbeaten Michael Hunter in his last 3 bouts. His jab and quickness on top of his vast amateur credentials will be enough to keep the older Huck off his game and struggling to catch up. Huck is 2-2 in his last 4 coming into this bout coming off of a UD loss to Mairis Briedis in his last outing. This is likely Huck's last chance to grab the spotlight. He'll give it all he has but my guess is that it won't be enough. Usyk wins by TKO somewhere around the 8th round but expect Huck to go down swinging! He's a gutsy and proud champion.


Match 2: Yunier Dorticos vs Dmitry Kudryashov (September 23)

This one should be a barnburner! Dorticos is 21-0 with 20 KOs and Kudryashov is a monster puncher himself with all 21 of his wins coming by way of knockout. He avenged his lone defeat (a 2nd round TKO loss to Olanrewaju Durodola) via 5th round knockout defeat in the rematch in June. It seems a near certainty that Kudryashov's chin, stamina, and overall ability are about to be put to the test again in a very big way when he takes on Dorticos. Dorticos has a solid win in his last bout over Youri Kalenga, but this will be the first time he's faced with an opponent as dangerous as Kudryashov. So this is a real "pick 'em". I'm going with the Cuban to use his great experience to find the shots on the wild and aggressive Kudryashov's chin. I wouldn't be surprised to see Kudryashov stun or drop Dorticos along the way though. I'm expecting Dorticos to win via KO in the 5th or 6th round. Should be a slugfest though.


Match 3: Mairis Briedis vs Mike Perez (September 30)

This is one of the wildcard matches of the tournament. We've got very little to go with Mike Perez of late. He was a solid heavyweight contender at one point having put together an impressive run of wins. However, after the tragic fight in which Abdusalamov was severely injured, Perez' career hit a bit of a stall as he fought Carlos Takam to a draw and then suffered a defeat to Bryant Jennings. After a few more fights in 2015 including a crushing 1st round KO loss to Alexander Povetkin, he had a long spell of inactivity before returning with a quick KO victory at cruiserweight over the unheralded Viktor Bicsak. This tournament will provide his first real tests as a cruiserweight and we'll see if he has what it takes to be a true force at this new weight. Briedis is certainly a hell of a major test for Perez. He has successfully tested the waters at heavyweight himself with wins over the likes of Manuel Charr and Danny Williams. Briedis is coming in off of a unanimous decision over Huck in his last bout and is one of the top cruiserweights in the world today. Perez better bring his A game because Briedis is going to be a handful. I'm thinking Briedis wins on points unanimously.


Match 4: Murat Gassiev vs Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (To be scheduled)

This one seems like one of the easier 1st round matchups to predict. Gassiev is a dangerous puncher at the peak of his abilities and Wlodarczyk is a tough old veteran who's had a long hard career. At 35 years old, Wlodarczyk's best years are probably behind him but he's never been stopped and the fights he's lost have close and hard fought. While Gassiev will be favored, this is certainly not a sure thing for the reigning IBF champ who is coming off a split decision victory over Denis Lebedev. Prior to that he scored a sensational 1st round KO victory over Jordan Shimmell. Logic tells me that the younger, stronger Gassiev is going to prevail here but that the veteran Wlodarczyk could have a few tricks up his sleeve. We'll see how it plays out. My guess is that Gassiev will win by unanimous decision.
 
Article By: Bobby Davis