You couldn't go wrong with any mixing and matching of the eight cruiserweights in the World Boxing Super Series tournament.
With all four fights officially set, the anticipation only continues to build.
The only pre-determined matchup of the lot came due to alphabet politics, as unbeaten IBF titlist Murat Gassiev will have to honor his mandatory challenger obligations. As such, he was denied the chance to choose his opening round opponent, but rather have it chosen for him as he faces established IBF #1 contender and former titlist Krzysztof Wlodarczyk.
"This is a good matchup, I am pleased with the fight," Gassiev said of the obligated pairing.
Top seed Oleksandr Usyk was always entitled the first pick, but now only had three opponents from which to choose. Following suit, he too selected a former titlist—in fact the man whom shares the divisional record for most successful title defenses in Marco Huck.
As for his reasons why, he was brief in his response—even if only due to a language barrier.
"Because (of) my fans," Usyk stated, insisting it's the bout his adoring base most desired.
Interestingly enough, running toward the sight of Usyk was actually what his forthcoming rival desired.
"This is my wish opponent," claims Huck, whose 13 title defenses over his lengthy reign leaves him tied with Johnny Nelson for most in cruiserweight history.
The former champ enters on the heels of a sound points loss in his vacant title fight versus Mairis Briedis, who offered perhaps the lone letdown of the draft process. The newly crowned titlist is due to make a mandatory defense versus fellow entrant Dmitry Kudryashov, who was very much available at the time of his selection.
Instead, he went with Mike Perez, a former amateur standout who didn't quite cut it as a heavyweight contender and has since dropped in weight to the loaded 200 lb. division.
That left number-four seed Yunier Dorticos the daunting task of facing Kudrashov in the opening round of competition. Between the two, they own just one fight to have gone the distance—Dorticos' July '14 decision win over Edison Miranda. They've otherwise been a knockout every time out, and their forthcoming matchups already has the boxing world envisioning a can't miss Fight of the Year contender.
All bouts are due to begin in September and October. The tournament is single-elimination format, with the finals targeted for May 2018.
ROUND ONE CRUISERWEIGHT MATCHUPS
#1 Oleksandr Usyk vs. Marco Huck
#2 Murat Gassiev vs. Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
#3 Mairis Briedis vs. Mike Perez
#4 Yunier Dorticos vs. Dmitry Kudryashov.