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Mike Perez scores important WBSS win in Florida

Mike Perez scored the biggest win of his cruiserweight career last night in Florida.

The Cork-Cuban scored a decisive unanimous decision win over Puerto Rican Keith Tapia at the CFE Arena in Orlando, picking up the WBA Fedalatin title in the process.

The former world rated heavyweight had moved down to the 200lbs class and had challenged then-WBC champion Mairis Briedis in Latvia last September in a rather turgid fight where he lost a competitive points decision.

That fight came in the quarter-finals of the inaugural season of the World Boxing Super Series and Perez was back for the second edition of the competition last night.

While not part of the tournament proper, Perez-Tapia acted as a reserve fight for the quarter-final between his countryman Yunier Dorticos and Poland’s Mateusz Masternak and the win for ‘The Rebel’ sees him retained as a reserve for the semi-finals next year.

Dorticos, a semi-finalist last year, won a close unanimous decision the co-main event, making it a Cuban double with Perez having been victorious an hour previously.

It was a ropey start, however, for Perez who was docked a point in the opening round following a rabbit punch.

The Leesider didn’t panic, though, and methodically broke down Tapia in the middle rounds, outworking his fellow Caribbean boxer to sweep much of the fight before holding off a strong finish from ‘Machine Gun Keith’.

Going to the cards, Perez was confirmed a unanimous decision winner with scorelines of 97-92 and a pair of 96-93s, picking up the WBA Fedalatin title and, probably, a spot in the organisation’s Top 15.

The win sees him improve his record to 24(15)-3(1)-1 while Tapia drops to 18(11)-2(0) and Perez will now likely move on to be an alternate in the semi-finals early next year.

Potential next opponents include Russian KO artist Yury Kashinsky [17(16)-0], who won his reserve bout last week, and the winners of the upcoming cruiserweight reserve fights on November 10th which remain to-be-confirmed.

The win last night for Dorticos sees him progress to the semi-finals where he will face American Andrew Tabiti who defeated Russian Ruslan Fayfer last week. The other semi-final will be between the winners of the November 10th clashes in Chicago that feature former champions Krzysztof Glowacki and Breidis up against Maksim Vlasov and Noel Gevor respectively.

All the belts in the cruiserweight division are held by last season’s champion Oleksandr Usyk who puts them on the line next month versus Liverpool’s former beltholder Tony Bellew. Should he win, the Ukrainian is expected to vacate and move to the heavyweight division with some or all of the belts then being put on the line for the WBSS Season Two semi-finals.


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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie