WBC mandatory challenger at cruiserweight, Mairis Briedis will feature on the October 15 undercard to Tony Bellew’s first defence of the green belt against BJ Flores in Liverpool, it has been confirmed to WBN.
An agreement between all parties has been reached that will see the 31 year-old compete against an opponent yet to be named ahead of Bellew potentially vacating the title in order to fight David Haye.
Bellew was keen to have a homecoming bout after sealing the victory of his life against Ilunga Makabu at Goodison Park in May and adhere to the mandatory obligations of the World Boxing Council in the process. As the
As the Liverpudlian was given special dispensation to challenge for the vacant belt in the first place, Bellew had been expected to open talk about facing Briedis, even though he really wanted a fight with American BJ Flores instead.
Flores is a known associate of Haye, and as Bellew hopes to land a heavyweight bout with the former world champion next year, ‘The Bomber’ saw a battle with the fighter / analyst as an ideal situation.
That left Briedis contemplating his next move until manager and advisor Al Siesta was able to negotiate a deal with Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn that was satisfactory to everyone moving forward.
“We were asked to either step aside or give them a voluntary defence,” Siesta exclusively explained to World Boxing News on Monday.
“Maybe it is to let Bellew stay as champion a little longer as Briedis is a really hard fight for him. We just found a mutual agreement that was good for everybody.
“The WBC sent me a disclaimer stating that if we let Bellew fight one more voluntary defence, he will definitely fight for the WBC title by the end of February.
“We are obliged to fight within that time frame, so basically everybody was happy with the deal. Eddie Hearn is willing to pay for the opponent and the purse of Mairis so everything is good for October 15.”
On what happens after the Echo Arena event, Siesta added: “Obviously, Bellew really wants to fight Haye, and if that fight can be made for next year he will probably leave the belt vacant for Mairis to fight either Marco Huck or Grigory Drozd. If the Haye fight doesn’t happen, Mairis will then fight Bellew by March 1.
“It’s worked out nice for Briedis as he really wants to come to Liverpool and fight on the undercard to make British fans aware of his skills.
“Everyone is happy with this deal and that’s why we are on the Liverpool card,” Siesta stated.