The Cruiserweight’s were a huge success in last season’s World Boxing Super Series, and without the skilful pound-for-pound star Oleksandr Usyk in this season, it looks about as even a playing field as you can possibly get.
Returning semi-finalists Mairis Briedis and Yunior Dorticos will be the favourites, but the opening quarter finalists Ruslan Fayfer and Andrew Tabiti will both feel that their unbeaten records will be intact after the tournament ends.
Fayfer 23-0(16KO’s) fights in front of his home fans in Russia, but like the adopted Mikhail Aloyan in the Bantamweight quarter-finals, he is an outsider when he meets the skilled and heavy handed Tabiti from America.
Fayfer has yet to mix it at this level, while Tabiti already boasts a trio of decent wins over Keith Tapia (W UD 10), Steve Cunningham (W UD 10) and Lateef Kayode (W KO 6).
The Chicago-born Tabiti 16-0(13KO’s) is a skilled operator with good speed, and has been favoured as the dark horse in this wide open tournament. While Fayfer brings a huge chunk of the unknown to this contest.
Fayfer is a heavy puncher, especially to the midsection. His knockouts have looked spectacular against lesser opposition, but was forced to go the distance in a hard-fought outing with the decent Junior Anthony Wright (W UD 12).
Fayfer’s hands tend to drop as the pace thickens late on, but looks to have a chin that can withstand heavy artillery coming back at him. And he will need every bit of that solid chin if he leaves himself square on as he often does when switching between stances.
The switch hitting looks intentional, but does not come too naturally, and could be the most obvious chink in Fayfer’s armour for Tabiti to exploit.
The feeling is that Fayfer’s chin will hold up in close exchanges, and that combined with a solid output should make this a fun fight to watch.
It will be competitive too, but the better work will consistently come from the American. Home advantage should make this close, but Tabiti will rally from an early deficit, possibly dropping the Russian late on, before taking a unanimous verdict to advance to the semi-finals.