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World Boxing Super Series: Cruiserweight Breakdown

by Steve Fearon

The World Boxing Super Series is an initiative across two weight divisions, super middleweight and cruiserweight, featuring eight boxers in each. Taking place in a knockout (arf) style it aims to tie the best to fighting the best and establish who is king of each weight class. The records and names involved are hugely impressive, and Steve is here to introduce you to the cruiserweights, before going deeper into the figures surrounding the tournament in later pieces.

Cruiserweights

Today we will be looking at the forthcoming Cruiserweight tournament as part of the World Boxing Super series, and trying to establish where the combatants sit, relative to each other.

Dmitry Kudryashov

Based in Volgodonsk, Russia, 31 year old Kudryashov is a top 6 ranked Cruiserweight with 3 of the 4 main organisations, and has an impressive record:

Every single fight he has contested has finished as a stoppage, so we are bound to get some entertainment from this chap.

He has won all but one of his 22 contests, losing only once to Olanrewaju Durodola 2 years ago (a loss he recently avenged), and could be a dangerous opponent indeed, though he has never fought outside of Russia, which may be a problem.

Yunier Dorticos is his opponent in the first round.

Krzysztof Wlodarczyk

Poland based Wlodarczyk, fights out of Piaseczno, and is ranked in the top 3 of the WBA, WBC and IBF.

At 35, Wlodarcyzk is the oldest competitor in the tournament, and his 57 bouts are unsurprisingly the most as well.

He has won a whopping 53 of his 57 fights, with 70% of those wins coming as a KO…and perhaps more interestingly, despite having lost 3 times, he has never been stopped.

The last two fights were won by decision, suggesting that he may not be as big a threat in terms of KO potential, with his KO% dropping to 50% over the last 18 months.

Wlodarcyzk has fought all over the world, and his experience may make him an interesting opponent (and almost certainly the highest score in scrabble)

He will be facing Murat Gassiev in the first round.


Mairis Breidis

32 year old Breidis fights out of Riga, Latvia and is one of 4 unbeaten Cruiserweights in this tournament, and current WBC Champion. 

Breidis holds the key advantage of being the only competitor to have faced, and indeed beaten another competitor as a professional, having beaten Marco Huck earlier this year on points.

He has a 100% win record after 22 fights, and has won 82% of those fights by stoppage, stopping 4 of his last 5 opponents, including Olanrewaju Durodola (***Triangle Theory Alert!*** The only man who to have defeated Dmitry Kudryashov).

Breidis’ 100% record, high KO% and recent high profile fight with Huck will see him amongst the favourite with the bookies.

He will face Mike Perez in the first round.


Marco Huck

32 year old Marco Huck is a name familiar to many, and the Berlin based Fighter is among the more experienced competitors, having had 45 fights.

Huck’s record shows us an 89% Win record, with 68% of his wins by KO, and tellingly 50% of his losses have come by way of stoppage.

If we look at his 5 most recent fights, he has won only once by stoppage, twice by decision, and has lost twice, once by stoppage to Glowacki, and once by UD to WBSS rival Breidis.

This may suggest that he is starting to fade, which is rightly a concern after 45 bouts, many of which were against tough opposition.

(NB: 84% of his opponents have had a winning record, and his opponents carry an average win% of 75% which is 2nd highest in the tournament)

One suspects that his experience of fighting at the top level so many times will be a big factor in how he does in the tournament, as the numbers suggest his physical resistance, and punching power may be declining.

Huck will face Oleksandr Usyk in the first round.

Mike Perez

31 Year old Mike Perez fights out of Cork, Ireland at this time, and is perhaps a bit of an enigma in this tournament, coming back after 2 years out with a KO win in June in a 6 rounder against unbeaten Viktor Biscak, having come to the ring around 40lbs lighter than his last fight.

Having spent most of his career at Heavyweight, fighting between 220 and 240lbs most of the time, Perez’s inclusion provides an interesting conundrum for me in terms of measuring his previous fights against those of the other cruiserweights.

Perez has fought some top class opponents, including Povetkin (Loss by TKO), Bryant Jennings (Loss by Split Decision) and Carlos Takam (Draw), but he has obviously struggled at the top end of the heavyweight category, perhaps being a little small at 6’1 compared to the monsters roaming the Heavyweight division.

He looks good at the weight; though the impact of dropping that much weight is yet to be seen, given the short duration of his comeback fight (29 seconds?).

He is also a southpaw, which offers up some problems for the other competitors, and has only been stopped the once (by Povetkin) suggesting he will be a potentially tough opponent, and could even be considered a dark horse, such are the unknowns surrounding him.

He will face Mairis Breidis in the first round.

Murat Gassiev

Vladikavkaz based Gassiev, fights out of Russia, and at 23 years old, is easily the youngest competitor as well as the current IBF Cruiserweight Champion.

Gassiev comes to the tournament unbeaten, and with a 71% KO record, though my analysis of his previous opponents suggests he hasn’t faced many quality opponents (Only 54% carried a winning record when they fought).

That being said, he narrowly beat Lebedev, and has travelled abroad a lot in search of fights, and his recent record shows that in his last 5 fights he faced an average win % of 86%, with 3 Stoppage wins and the aforementioned Split Decision against Lebedev, and a No Contest against Isiah Thomas (He floored Thomas after the bell).

This recent record, plus his willingness to fight overseas, particularly in Germany and the USA suggests that Gassiev is a game fighter, and will be a big test for whomever he meets.

He will face Krzysztof Wlodarczyk in the first round.


Oleksandr Usyk

WBO Cruiserweight Champion Usyk is 30 years old, and fights out of Kiev in the Ukraine, where we carries a 100% win record, with 10 of his 12 wins coming via KO.

Usyk will be a favourite for many going into this tournament, having risen to the top quickly after his debut in 2013, stopping his first 9 opponents and then beating the ‘then unbeaten’ Krzysztof Glowacki by UD.

He has since fought twice in the USA, beating Thabiso Mchunu by KO in December and ending Michael Hunter’s unbeaten record by UD earlier this year.

Interestingly, Usyk has faced the highest average win% of the tournament’s competitors (81%) and every single opponent he has fought professionally has had a winning record, which is quite rare, I can tell you.

He has to be seen as one of the favourites to win the tournament, given his record, and the quality of opposition he has faced, but will the more experienced pro’s be able to exert that additional professional knowledge?

Usyk will face Marco Huck in the first round.

Yunier Dorticos

31 year old Dorticos is a Miami based fighter holding a version of the WBA Belt, with a 100% record after 21 fights, and a 95% KO record.

Dorticos has an impressive record, with a lot of KOs, so should bring some excitement to his fights, though his quality of past opposition may throw some doubts over how legitimate his power will be against this quality of opposition.

His average opposition win% is the lowest in the tournament at 59% though it leaps up to 78% over the last 5, which shows an improvement, though it remains to be seen if he is at the same standard as the rest of the field.

I suspect he will be in some exciting fights, as we simply do not know how good he is yet, and it may be fun finding out.

He will face Dmitry Kudryashov in the first round.

SUMMARY

So we have an incredibly talented pool of fighters, some unknown attributes, and only previous fight between this tournament’s competitors, meaning there are a lot of upsets possible, and perhaps even likely.

In my next article, I will be looking in more detail at the round one match ups, and trying to examine where the advantages may be, and who my picks for the first round and indeed the tournament will be.

Watch this space!

 Steve Fearon is on Twitter: @ScreamingStatic

Posted: 14th Jul 2017

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