A bruising cruiserweight who has competed in both boxing and kickboxing, Mairis Briedis has that winning combination of brutal power and exceptional durability. Born on January 13, 1985 in Riga, Latvia, Briedis didn’t have the impressive amateur credentials of some other boxers, and his first taste of professional fighting was kickboxing. He won a gold medal at a 2008 European kickboxing championship event. A year later, he was making his pro debut in boxing.
His first fight was on October 11, 2009 against Raulis Racilauskas, who was also making his debut. It wasn’t Briedis’s best performance, but he did enough to get the job done, taking a unanimous decision after four rounds. He looked much more dangerous in his next fight, when he took out Gabor Zsalek by way of TKO in round one on June 12, 2010. He took almost a year off after that, not boxing again until June 2, 2011, when he scored another first-round TKO, this one against Josip Jalusic.
Over the next two years, Mairis Briedis would build up an impressive streak of finishes, running his record to 9-0 with eight straight victories coming by KO or TKO, and all of those occurring in the first or second round. Most of his opponents were journeymen at best, although he did beat Danny Williams, who was 44-15 at the time. On July 5, 2013, he went eight rounds against Jeremy Ouanna and won a clear-cut unanimous decision.
That victory earned him a shot at the IBA cruiserweight belt in his first title fight on November 22, 2013. He took on Lubos Suda and put on a great show, battering his opponent, who couldn’t continue after the fifth round. Briedis got a chance to add another belt to his collection in his very next fight, which was for the WBC Baltic cruiserweight title. He had another dominant performance, taking out Joey Vegas by TKO in round nine.
After a first-round KO over Csaba Faur and a 12-round unanimous decision over Ismail Abdoul, the Latvian powerhouse went on another tear, finishing fighters in frightening fashion. He had one of his best finishes on August 22, 2015 when he put Manuel Charr to sleep in the fifth round of their fight. He followed that up with a second-round TKO over Laszlo Hubert, which set him up for a shot at the IBF Inter-Continental cruiserweight title.
Mairis Briedis fought for that belt on February 21, 2016 against Danie Venter, and it was another quick finish, this one by TKO in the second round. On May 14, 2016, he fought Olanrewaju Durodola for the WBC Silver cruiserweight title. In one of his grittiest performances, he had to dig deep and show his heart, as he took some big shots in the early and middle rounds of the fight. He gave as good as he got, though, and eventually rallied to stop Durodola by TKO in the ninth round. It was an incredible fight, and he followed that up by finishing the previously undefeated Simon Vallily by TKO in the third round.