Boxing Preview: Fielding v Brophy & Briedis v Perez

A good weekend of boxing and we check out Rocky Fielding v David Brophy and Mairis Briedis v Mike Perez.

Starting with Fielding and Brophy – on paper, it’s a great fight, but one loss has put Rocky Fielding so far down in a lot of people’s estimations, which, I think, really isn’t fair.

This has even been described as a crossroads fight for Fielding in Liverpool this Saturday. Rocky’s sole career loss came in a 50-50 bout against Callum Smith, who is on track to win the World Boxing Super Series and become British boxing’s next biggest star.

There’s no shame in that defeat and, despite the first-round knockout, he went into and out of that fight with his heart on his sleeve. Since his loss, Rocky has edged Christopher Rebrasse and John Ryder, both amazingly talented and classy opponents, but winning by split decision has put a question mark over his level of class.

He is a worthy British champion and, aged 30, he has a few years left to improve still, but first is the challenge of Commonwealth champion David Brophy to get through.

Brophy hasn’t travelled south to simply make up the numbers and is no stranger to upsetting the odds on foreign soil, coming into this on the back of a stunning knockout win over Zac Dunn in Australia.

He won his title in emphatic fashion with a seventh-round stoppage of unbeaten Dunn in his home city of Melbourne, which no-one expected. Considering Brophy went into the fight with just two previous KO’s on his record, the ferocity of his punching, especially to the body, would have come as some surprise to Dunn and ringsiders alike.

Like Rocky, he also has just one career loss, also no shame in defeat, to WBA Super champion George Groves in April 2016, who is also a favourite, like Smith, to win the WBSS.

Fielding has got his career back on track after his solitary defeat and he will be steadfast in his plan to keep it moving onwards and upwards, and I doubt that Brophy will alter that strategy.

I can’t see “Brophs” chinning Rocky like “Mundo” did in their 2015 meeting, so he will have to win on points like he has in 16 of his 19 wins.

Going the distance, I favour Rocky’s superior skills and going on power, I also favour Rocky. Therefore, I can’t call just how it will end – KO or points – but I will put my money on Rocky either way.

Other in Latvia, the coveted World Boxing Super Series continues this weekend in Riga, Latvia with a WBC cruiserweight title fight between champion Mairis Briedis (22-0) and challenger Mike Perez (22-2-1).

Lying in wait for the victor is huge showdown with tournament favourite Oleksandr Usyk in the lucrative semi-finals.

After beating the legendary Marco Huck to claim the vacant WBC cruiserweight title last April, the unbeaten Latvian, Briedis, comes into the WBSS as one of the firm favourites.

Since turning pro in 2009, the 32-year-old unbeaten Briedis has fought all over the world in Latvia, Germany, America, Greece, Poland and the UK.

He was the first Latvian to win a world title in his triumph over long-term champion Marco Huck, who lost to the aforementioned Usyk on September 9 in the tournament opener.

Briedis first made waves at 200lbs when devastating Manuel Charr with a one-punch knockout back in 2015.

He went onto win the WBC silver cruiserweight title in a ninth-round knockout of Olanrewaju Durodola before heading to the UK to compete against Commonwealth Games gold medallist Simon Vallily on the Tony Bellew vs BJ Flores undercard – he left Liverpool with Vallily’s unbeaten record in tatters.

His Cuban southpaw opponent, Mike ‘The Rebel’ Perez, fighting out of Cork, Ireland, is looking to fast-track to glory in the WBSS and is no stranger to being the underdog in big fights.

With losses to Alexander Povetkin (inside 91 seconds) and Bryant Jennings at heavyweight, the 31-year-old is aiming to rebuild his career as a cruiserweight.

Briedis has a KO ratio of 82%, so we know he has heavy hands, but against a tricky southpaw in Perez, it won’t be straight-forward for the champion.

Perez comes into the contest with just two wins in his last five fights and has had just one professional contest since May 2015, which he won via an impressive first-round KO over undefeated hard-hitting opponent Viktor Biscak.

With only a 56% KO ratio, Perez looks likely to have to take this the distance if he’s to stand a chance of winning but his recent inactivity suggests that he may not have the tank to take him that far without faltering.

I think it’s likely that the favourite, Briedis, will add to his KO collection with a win inside six-rounds in Latvia, setting up a mouth-watering tie with Oleksandr Usyk, which is the real fight that we are all looking forward to!


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