After eight events in eight weeks, the inaugural World Boxing Super Series tournaments have wrapped up their respective quarterfinal bouts. On Friday, Juergen Braehmer outpointed Rob Brant by unanimous decision to advance to the semifinals of the super-middleweight bracket. The 39-year-old Braehmer is the oldest fighter in the WBSS and this was his first fight at the 168-pound limit in a decade, having spent his prime years at light heavyweight.
The eight quarterfinals produced plenty of action (save for the awful Mairis Briedis-Mike Perez clash in the cruiserweight bracket), five stoppages, but no actual upsets. The most competitive fight was Erik Skoglund giving Callum Smith a fairly difficult fight, but still losing a clear decision. Here are the updated brackets for each tournament:
World Boxing Super Series Cruiserweight bracket
Quarterfinals (Sept/Oct 2017)
#1 Oleksandr “The Cat” Usyk (WBO champion – 13-0, 11 KOs) def. Marco “Captain” Huck (40-5-1, 27 KOs) by TKO, round 10
#3 Mairis Briedis (WBC champion – 23-0, 18 KOs) def. Mike “The Rebel” Perez (22-3-1, 14 KOs) by unanimous decision
#2 Murat “Iron” Gassiev (IBF champion – 25-0-1 NC, 18 KOs) def. Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (53-4-1, 37 KOs) by KO, round 3
#4 Yunier “The KO Doctor” Dorticos (WBA secondary champion – 22-0, 21 KO) def. Dmitry “The Russian Hammer” Kudryashov (21-2, 21 KO) by KO, round 2
Semifinals (Jan/Feb 2018)
Oleksandr Usyk vs. Mairis Briedis
Yunier Dorticos vs. Murat Gassiev
Final (May 2018 in Saudi Arabia)
Usyk/Briedis winner vs. Dorticos/Gassiev winner
WBSS Super Middleweight Tournament
#1 “Saint” George Groves (WBA champion – 27-3, 20 KO) def. Jamie Cox (23-1, 13 KO) by KO, round 4
#3 Chris “Next Gen” Eubank Jr (26-1, 20 KO) def. Avni “Mr. Robot” Yildirim (16-1, 10 KO) by KO, round 3
#2 Callum “Mundo” Smith (23-0, 17 KO) def. Erik Skoglund (26-1, 12 KO) by unanimous decision
#4 Juergen Braehmer (49-3, 35 KO) def. Rob “Bravo” Brant (22-1, 15 KO) by unanimous decision
Semifinals (Jan/Feb 2018)
George Groves vs. Chris Eubank Jr.
Callum Smith vs. Juergen Braehmer
Final (May 2018)
Groves/Eubank winner vs. Smith/Braehmer winner
Groves vs. Eubank Jr. is the marquee fight on the super-middleweight side, while Gassiev vs. Dorticos is the more intriguing of the cruiserweight semis. Truth be told, the cruiserweight division is superior in quality to super-middleweight, and is really a great example of the best fighting the best. Usyk is the favorite to win it all, and if he does, he has a strong case for being the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. He’ll have beaten multiple current and former world champions, and unified the major belts in one of boxing’s deepest divisions in the span of two years.
Fight dates, venues, and TV deals for the semifinals and finals will be announced in due time.
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