by Tamas Pradarics
Arena Riga had an early wind of passionate Latvian and Ukrainian fans today at the official weigh-in ceremony of tomorrow’s big cruiserweight title unification bout between WBO champ Oleksandr Usyk and WBC belt holder Mairis Briedis.
Briedis (23-0, 18 KOs) stepped on to the scale first and approved with 199.1 lbs Usyk (13-0, 11 KOs) followed his fellow unbeaten opponent and weighed 199.5 lbs.
The two reigning champions then exchanged an approximately 40 seconds long staredown while their fans were screaming in the conference room.
”We will see what happens tomorrow. Hopefully, we can live up to the expectations and make a great fight. See you tomorrow at the arena, let’s do it together,” said Briedis to his fans while on the stage after the face off.
”I will fight for the WBC title tomorrow night and it does motivate me because I love the green color very much,” said Usyk with a half-smile on his face about what motivates him to get the win.
The event started at 4:15 p.m. at the VIP Foyer inside of Arena Riga in the capital of Latvia. Hundreds of fans arrived at the weigh-in process as it was open to the public.
2016 Rio Olympic bronze medalist Filip Hrgovich (2-0, 2 KOs) weighed in at 229 lbs. for his biggest test to date on a scheduled eight-round heavyweight matchup against British Tom Little (10-4, 3 KOs), who approved the ceremony with 246 lbs.
Other weights for undercard fighters:
Micky Nielsen 193.5 vs Ricards Bolotniks 192
Nikolajs Grisunins 199.1 vs Jozsef Darmos 199.1
Yoann Kongolo 174.3 vs Andrejs Pokumeiko 173.2
Jevgenijs Aleksejevs 176.6 vs Maurice Possiti 173.2
Otto Wallin TBA vs Srdan Govedarica 241.3
The event, that is promoted by Sauerland Event, is expected to be sold-out by tomorrow night, making it largest crowd ever in an international sports event in Latvia.
The winner of Usyk-Briedis will make his way to the finals of the World Boxing Super Series tournament at cruiserweight. That event is scheduled to take place on May 11 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.