Both Mairis Briedis and Yunier Dorticos lost their semi-finals with great honour.
Here are their interesting thoughts on the historic Ali Trophy Cruiserweight Final between Aleksandr Usyk and Murat Gassiev in Moscow:
Usyk came through a tough and hard-fought battle to claim a 12-round majority decision over Briedis in Riga.
Gassiev produced a stunning 12th-round knockout win against Dorticos in his semi-final in Sochi.
Both semi-finals were dubbed ‘Fight of the Year’ candidates and make the final one of the most anticipated match-ups in recent boxing history.
“Both boxers have their advantages and it will go down on how they will manage to put those in use,” said Briedis.
“From an emotional point of view, my favorite in this fight is Gassiev – a modest guy who does his job with dignity and leaves a good impression of himself.”
“They are both great fighters. Usyk is a technician with superb skills and Gassiev is also skillful with power. It will be a great fight between two classy guys. The fans are in for an amazing final and I can’t wait to see it myself.”
“Gassiev should give me a rematch since we where the best fight in the tournament all the fans want to see us do it again!”
The Ali Trophy Cruiserweight Final is guaranteed to produce fireworks with the winner becoming the first boxer ever to win the Muhammad Ali Trophy and unify the cruiserweight titles in the four belt era.
The belts on the line will be the WBO, WBC, IBF and WBA Super and RING Magazine’s vacant cruiserweight championship strap.
Lonnie Ali, the wife of the late heavyweight icon Muhammad Ali, will be guest of honor while watching Usyk-Gassiev live at the Olimpiyskiy Sports Complex and after the fight reveal and award the winner with the Muhammad Ali Trophy, The Greatest Prize in Boxing.