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WBO strips Mairis Briedis of cruiserweight world title

The WBO has stripped Mairis Briedis of its cruiserweight world title.

In late October, the organization ordered Briedis to defend the 200-pound title in a rematch against former titlist Krzysztof Glowacki, whom Briedis had controversially knocked out in the third round June 15 in Riga, Latvia -- Briedis' hometown -- to claim the belt in the semifinals of the World Boxing Super Series.

Glowacki appealed the result hoping to have it overturned, but the WBO instead ordered an immediate rematch, which would have meant Briedis would have had an interim bout before competing in the final of the World Boxing Super Series in what was supposed to be a title unification bout against Yunier Dorticos on Dec. 14.

However, the fight was never officially scheduled while Glowacki's appeal was going on. But now that Briedis, who is contractually bound to the tournament, will not comply with the WBO's order to fight Glowacki again, he was stripped.

He will fight Dorticos in the final of the eight-man World Boxing Super Series for Dorticos' belt on a date and at a site to be determined in early 2020.

Glowacki (31-2, 19 KOs), 33, of Poland, will be ordered to fight for the vacant WBO world title against the organization's leading available contender. Currently, the No. 2-ranked cruiserweight in its ratings is European champion Lawrence Okolie (14-0, 11 KOs), 26, of England.

The three arbitrators who heard Glowacki's appeal in October voted 2-1 in favor of Briedis (26-1, 19 KOs), 34, being ordered to give Glowacki an immediate rematch.

In early July, the WBO reviewed video of the Briedis-Glowacki bout and ruled that Briedis had intentionally fouled Glowacki and that referee Robert Byrd made multiple errors in officiating the wild fight that ended in a storm of controversy. The sanctioning organization was powerless to overturn the decision to a no contest as sought by Glowacki, but it did have the ability to order a rematch.

After the video review, the WBO strongly recommended that the Briedis-Dorticos winner defend the title against Glowacki within 120 days after the completion of the tournament, but that was before Glowacki's appeal was heard.

The WBO said in a statement after issuing its ruling Tuesday that with Briedis "failing to comply with the WBO Regulations of World Championship contests as per the 'award' issued by the WBO Complaints and Grievances' Committee on October 25th, 2019, the WBO Executive Committee hereby declares the WBO Jr. Heavyweight Championship Title vacant."

The WBO officially refers to the cruiserweight division as the junior heavyweight division.