By Jimmer Hailston @Jimmer10Jimmer
So far the world boxing super series has been largely a breath of fresh air for boxing fans.
An 8 man tournament where generally the best are fighting the best. No weight division has capitalised on it more so than the cruiserweights. After the superb Oleksandr Usyk won the first instalment, such was the entertainment and the depth of competition in the cruiserweights, organisers decided to run a second one. And on June 15th in Riga, the semi finals of this second season will take place.
Mairis Briedis will take on Krzysztof Glowacki for one place in the final whilst Yunier Dorticos will battle Andrew Tabiti for the other. It is the Dorticos Tabiti match up that is arguably harder to predict. Dorticos, a 33 year old Cuban has more experience at the higher end of the division, however Tabiti still undefeated after 17 contests has possibly not shown us his full potential as of yet. He’s 29 years old, has stopped 13 of his opponents, and after a steady progression learning his trade as a professional is now dipping his feet in world class waters for the first time.
He’s trained at the mayweather gym and has some similar traits to that of the former P4P no1 with fast hands, fast reflexes and a sharp counter punching style. He carries his lead left hand slightly low and works in spurts, often waiting for his opponent to do something before setting about his own work. He defeated then 23-0 Ruslan Fayfer in the quarter final on points but didn’t necessarily impress. As good as he’s looked at times he will have to show a new level to his game if he’s to defeat Dorticos. Will the step up in level bring more out of him?
Dorticos is 23-1 (21kos) and a former world champion. His sole defeat came in the first season of this competition when he was stopped by Murat Gassiev in the 12th round of their semi final unification fight. As much as he was slightly outclassed at times and then stopped he certainly gave Gassiev plenty to think about. His ko ratio shows how big a puncher he is and coming from a Cuban amateur background he is technically better than he appears at times. I say this as he is a bit of a wild swinger particularly with his right hand which he tends to arc when he throws causing him to lean over his front foot.
This may be of interest to Tabiti when taking into account his counter punching skills. He beat Mateusz Masternak by unanimous decision to get to this semi final but has stopped pretty much everyone else he’s faced so will be confident if he lands he can take Tabiti out. He also has a decent work rate and at 6’3 with an 80” reach will know he can dictate the distance the fight is fought at if he uses his jab correctly. As I said earlier he has experience on his side too. It’s very much the acid test for Tabiti. Formerly a prospect now turned fringe world title fighter, this is the fight that will tell us the most about how good he is or can be.
With Dorticos we know what he’s capable of where as with Tabiti it’s what we think he might be capable of. To win he’ll have to stem Dorticos’ relentless attacks, probably with good lateral movement and upper body movement whilst still producing enough quality output to win rounds.
Dorticos will meanwhile try his best to stop Tabiti settling into any kind of rhythm. He’ll try to back Tabiti up as much as possible and hold the centre of the ring using the jab. Whilst both undoubtedly carry power it wouldn’t surprise me if this is a distance fight. It will be entertaining I’m sure, Dorticos usually makes sure of that and despite not ruling out Tabitis chances, he’s obviously gifted, the Cuban is the slight favourite to progress here.
Either way, the winner will be 1 fight away from potentially announcing themselves as the new no1 cruiserweight on the planet.
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