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Mairis Briedis delivers classy display to outpoint Yuniel Dorticos in WBSS final

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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Cruiserweight Mairis Briedis 27-1 (19) won the final of the World Boxing Super Series with a 12-round majority decision over Yuniel ‘The KO Doctor’ Dorticos 24-2 (22) at the Plazamedia Studios in Munich, Germany.

The 35-year-old Latvian was wary of the power-punching Cuban early but took over the fight in the middle rounds and finished stronger down the stretch.

Miami-based Cuban Dorticos, 34, was always in the fight, landing hard shots in spurts, enough to earn him a 114-114 draw on one of the judge’s scorecards. The other two judges both turned in identical cards of 117-111 for Briedis.

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With the victory Briedis lifted the Muhammad Ali Trophy and claimed both the IBF and Ring Magazine world titles at 200-pounds.

“It’s been a long journey,” said Briedis. “I’m thrilled to finally get my hands on the Muhammad Ali Trophy. Dorticos was as tough and strong as expected, but after a few rounds I could figure out what he was going to do.

“I want to thank my wife, my team and my fans in Latvia for being with me all of the way!”

Briedis showed masterful counterpunching throughout the contest, moving both left and right to set up heavy shots of his own to the head of Dorticos.

Dorticos targeted the body frequently while looking to set up his fight-ending right cross.

Both boxers looked to get their jabs pumping in the early rounds with Dorticos on the front foot while Briedis looked to set up his traps.

Briedis looked to have the ascendancy by the fourth, but Dorticos came back with a solid right hand of his own. In the sixth Briedis landed an eye-catching uppercut near the end of the frame.

Briedis continued the onslaught in the seventh but Dorticos lifted in the eighth, even if many of his shots were caught on the Latvian’s gloves and arms.

In the ninth round Briedis slammed home a crunching overhand right and banged in hard shots to Dorticos’ body in the 10th.

Despite appearing to be behind in the fight, Dorticos never stopped trying. But Briedis’ movement and versatility in attack left him reaching for that one punch that could turn the fight around.

The right-hand bomb from the Cuban became more predictable as the rounds went on.

Briedis remained calm, compact and prescient in the 11th, nailing Dorticos with a solid left hook. The same punch serves Briedis well in the close round.

The loss was just the second for Dorticos on his 11-year pro career following his 12th round knockout to Murat Gassiev in the first season of the World Boxing Suer Series in February 2018.

“I would like to thank the World Boxing Super Series for this opportunity once again,” Dorticos said.

“It was a close fight and I thought I was closer to the victory than the scorecards read. Congrats to Briedis and his team. ‘The KO Doctor’ will be back stronger than ever!”

Briedis, who lost to Oleksandr Usyk by majority decision in the first season of the World Boxing Super Series, is now the clear number one in the cruiserweight division.

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