At least three versions of the world cruiserweight titles are expected to enter the World Boxing Super Series early next year.
Ahead of the semi-finals to take place in January and February of 2019, a huge unification is set to open up for the finale.
Oleksandr Usyk, who cleaned out the division as part of the first 200 pound tournament over the summer, is on the verge of relinquishing his belts for a run at heavyweight.
This means the WBC, IBF, WBO and WBA straps will be vacated in the coming weeks before Usyk heads up to mix it with the big boys.
The final four currently consists of Mairis Briedis facing Krzysztof Glowacki and Yunier Dorticos battling Andrew Tabiti.
Dates and venues will be confirmed soon. But with Briedis holding the WBC Diamond belt, Glowacki in possession of the interim WBO title, and Tabiti the mandatory challenger for the IBF strap. This trio of fighters are first in line for Usyk’s soon-to-be-available championships.
This means Briedis v Glowacki would be for the WBC and WBO, with Dorticos v Tabiti contesting the IBF.
Once ratified by the relevant bodies, not only will the coveted Ali Trophy be on the line in the final, but the status of three-belt unified and divisional number one.
The WBA version as usual is a little more complicated. In a strange move, Denis Lebedev was made ‘Champion in Recess’ by the WBA. An honor which gives the Russian first crack at the title at the earliest opportunity.
With Lebedev fighting this weekend in Monte Carlo, it’s too soon for this to happen. Eventually, though, Lebedev should fight ‘Regular’ ruler Beibut Shumenov to determine the overall champion.
Comosa AG Head of Boxing Kalle Sauerland recently met with WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman to discuss all things WBSS in Mexico. Handing Briedis his well-earned chance would certainly have been on the agenda.
Briedis took Usyk to a close majority decision when they collided in the WBSS semi-final back in January. A performance which gets better and better as Usyk climbs the pound for pound rankings.
More should be cleared up in the coming weeks or at the very latest in the New Year.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay
Nonito Donaire (Philippines) v Zolani Tete (South Africa)
Naoya Inoue (Japan) v Emmanuel Rodriguez (Puerto Rico)
Regis Prograis (United States) v Kiryl Relikh (Belarus)
Josh Taylor (Scotland) v Ivan Baranchyk (Belarus)
Mairis Briedis (Latvia) v Krzysztof Glowacki (Poland)
Yunier Dorticos (Cuba) v Andrew Tabiti (United States)
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