In February 2018, in the semifinals of the Cruiserweight division of the World Boxing Super Series, Yunier Dorticos was stopped by the powerful Russian slugger Murat Gassiev in the 12th round in what was a Fight of the Year candidate. Crushed by suffering the first defeat of his career just one step away from a spot in the finals, the Havana, Cuba native is looking to right that wrong and solidify his position as the man at 200 pounds this year.
The second year of the Super Series kicked off in October of 2018 and Dorticos fought his way to a unanimous decision victory over Polish tough man Mateusz Masternak in Orlando, Florida. Now in the semifinals once again, the 33 year old Dorticos (23-1, 21KO) known as “The KO Doctor” will this time find himself up against 29 year old Chicago, Illinois native Andrew Tabiti (17-0, 13KO).
Under the guidance of trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr., Tabiti, who goes by the ring moniker “The Beast” earned his spot in the semifinals by going to Russia and picking up a unanimous decision over Ruslan Fayfer in what was a cagey lackluster fight. Overall Tabiti’s career has moved at a snails pace but the World Boxing Super Series has given him the chance to put his name in the mix with the major players in the division.
Dorticos has stated that his intent is to put on a show for the crowd at Riga and not just end Tabiti’s night by way of knockout, but to completely send Tabiti out of the ring on his way to the finals. His 91% KO rate has never left a doubt that the ability to end a fight in a destructive manner is always there, and although his last fight went the distance, it was clear from the opening bell that Dorticos intends to deliver shots with bad intentions from start to finish.
His power may not be at the level of his Cuban adversary, but it is nothing to dismiss from Andrew Tabiti as he himself has delivered 13 of his 17 wins before the final bell. Along with his strong right hand comes impressive hand speed that could prove to be a new challenge for Dorticos Saturday night. While power, speed and technical ability are all there for Tabiti, the biggest hurdle for him to climb will be standing up to the bombs that come his way from Dorticos, bombs that can come from both the left and right hands.
Yunier Dorticos, the veteran looking for redemption, and Andrew Tabiti, the contender looking respect in the division. The cruiserweight semifinal between takes place Saturday in Riga, Latvia, and can be seen on DAZN at 2pm.