32 years ago, Evander Holyfield became the first undisputed, unified, Cruiserweight Champion of the world. Oleksandr Usyk became the second ever to complete this milestone in July of 2018 when he defeated Murat Gassiev. All 3 of those fighters find themselves on many top-10 of all-time lists for the division. However, in present-day, the cruiserweight division’s popularity is diminishing. Gassiev, like Usyk, has expressed his desire to compete in the heavyweight division moving forward. Let’s review boxing in 2020, specifically at the cruiserweight and light heavyweight divisions.
The Notable Cruiserweights
The finals for the World Boxing Super Series would have taken place this past weekend with a chance for the winner to wear the crown. Yuniel Dorticos and Mairis Briedis were set to face off. When boxing resumes, this scheduled fight would appear to still be on the table for the end of 2020. Yuniel Dorticos is the IBF champion. Briedis, the former WBC champion, both defeated two opponents to reach the finale. Dorticos was a YouTube sensation after his knockout of Andrew Tabiti last June. The Cuban has a height advantage of 2 inches, however, their resumes are eerily similar. Dorticos and Briedis are both orthodox and have records of 24-1 and 26-1, respectively. The bout was scheduled to be held in Briedis backyard, with the venue being in Riga, Latvia.
One of the notable cruiserweights who was not in the super series tournament was the WBA champion Arsen Goulamirian. The Frenchman is 26-0 and climbing up the rankings.
The Notable Light Heavyweights
In part 1, it was discussed how boxing’s weight divisions usually fluctuate around 5-7 lbs. However, the jump from cruiserweight to light heavyweight is massive. The 175 lb limit, makes for a significant size difference between the divisions. Widely considered the #1 light heavyweight in the world, Artur Beterbiev is the IBF and WBC champion. After a back-and-forth classic with fellow top 5 counterpart, Oleksandr Gvozdyk to unify the division, Beterbiev sits at the top. Don’t be mistaken though, Gvozdyk is a world-class fighter at 175lbs and is able to hold a title again.
The WBA champion is the undefeated Dmitry Bivol. Bivol, under the DAZN banner is on the other side of the street. Whereas, both Beterbiev and Gvozdyk fight for Top Rank Boxing. However, both of these networks utilize streaming services which could make it easier to schedule.
Sergey “The Krusher” Kovalev is one of the more popular names in boxing. Kovalev, in his prime, was a devastating power puncher that “The Krusher” nickname became warranted. More recently, Kovalev squared off with Canelo Alvarez. Despite suffering the KO loss, Kovalev is still a name to watch in the light heavyweight division. He’s now 37 and at the end of his career, but was one of the best in the weight class.
Eleider Alvarez has a KO win over Kovalev but ultimately was on the wrong side of a decision in their rematch. Alvarez is 25-1 and is a highly rated contender out of Colombia.
Ultimately, the cruiserweight and light heavyweight divisions are going through a period of reshuffling. However, there are still some elite fighters in their respective divisions. Stay tuned for part 3, as I’ll continue to introduce some of the most exciting fighters in the game today.
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