Three-time cruiserweight world champion and former opponent of Oleksandr Usyk, Mairis Briedis, has laid out his prediction ahead of his former rival’s upcoming undisputed heavyweight title showdown against Tyson Fury.
The Latvian defeated Marco Huck by unanimous decision to claim the vacant WBC Cruiserweight title back in 2018, making one defence against Mike Perez in his hometown of Riga before taking on WBO title holder, Usyk, in a unification bout.
In what is considered by many as Usyk’s most arduous professional outing, he handed Briedis his first defeat despite being on away territory, walking away with the majority-decision win and the unified titles.
Seventeen months later, Briedis regained his throne in the cruiserweight division, knocking out Krzysztof Glowacki in the third-round of a controversial contest, but was later stripped of the title for failing to defend the belt in a direct rematch.
Instead, Briedis opted to face IBF Champion, Yuriel Dorticos, in the final of the World Boxing Super Series, defeating the Cuban by majority-decision. Again, the now 38-year-old made just one defence, against Artur Mann, before losing the belt to Jai Opetaia last year.
Now he is chasing a rematch with the Australian, but when asked about the only other man to have conquered him in the ring, the 200lb veteran admitted to Boxing Social that he gives little chance to his undefeated, former cruiserweight compadre against Tyson Fury.
“I think that for the first six rounds, it will be close. Then Fury [will take over], it will be a very close fight like when he fought Steve Cunningham, the first one to knock him down, then he grabbed Steve Cunningham by the neck and did the same. I think that he will do the same strategy with Usyk.”
Both men bid to become the first four-belt world champion in the history of the heavyweight division, with a majority of pundits and fighters backing the Brit and more natural heavyweight to pull it off on the night.
Although the fight has been signed, there’s no official date just yet. That’s expected to come after Fury faces MMA star, Francis Ngannou, later this month. The promotion floated a date as early as December 23, but Usyk believes that unlikely.