Home Boxing News Mairis Briedis insists he isn’t looking past Artur Mann

Mairis Briedis insists he isn’t looking past Artur Mann

Mairis Briedis. Photo credit: World Boxing Super Series

IBF and Ring magazine cruiserweight champion Mairis Briedis 27-1 (19) insist he isn’t overlooking challenger Artur Mann 17-1 (9) ahead of their clash at Arena Riga in Riga, Latvia on October 16.

The Latvian boxing star returns to action following his spectacular victory over Yuniel Dorticos 24-2 (22) in the final of the World Boxing Super Series and is looking forward to boxing in front of his home fans again having been forced to fight his last contest behind closed doors due to Covid-19 restrictions.

“I’m very happy to be able to have my people behind me again,” said the 36-year-old Briedis. “I know there will be people from all over Latvia coming to support me and to enjoy another exciting night of boxing from the stands at Arena Riga.

“I’m proud to represent Latvia and to fight for my people. I always go out to do my best and I never take any shortcuts in training. That’s because I know I have to defend my belts to get the Latvian flag raised after the fight.”

There has been talk of Briedis facing WBO champion Lawrence Okolie 17-0 (14) next in a mouthwatering cruiserweight unification bout. Another option is moving up in weight where he could meet former foe and newly crowned unified heavyweight king Oleksandr Usyk 19-0 (13) in a rematch.

Despite the speculation, the Latvian champion insists he is fully focused on his upcoming fight and is not underestimating the challenge posed by Mann.

“I have never overlooked any of my opponents,” Briedis said. “My experience from my younger days has proven this doesn’t end well.

“I always remember it up to this day and I have the utmost respect for every opponent. This is boxing and Mann is not an easy opponent. My team has done the homework of analysing him and we know he’s not an easy guy to face.”

German Mann, 30, has lost just once when he was stopped in four frames by talented South African southpaw Kevin Lerena 26-1 (13) in March 2019.

He says he won’t be intimidated by the hostile reception he expects to receive in Latvia.

“It’s really exciting to know that there are going to be thousands of people in the arena to watch the fight,” said Mann.

“It doesn’t matter if they are going to be booing me. Anyone who has ever stood in the ring knows that after the bell rings there is nothing except you and the fighter in front of you. It doesn’t matter where I’m fighting. I just concentrate on myself and my game plan.

“I do this for myself and my beliefs, not for belts, not for money. I do this to prove to myself and to my five-year-old son that I can achieve anything.

“I learnt a lot from my world title fight with Kevin Lerena and now I’m 100% pumped and ready to show the world what I can do on October 16.”