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Yunier Dorticos vs. Dmitry Kudryashov preview & analysis

Nonito Donaire

By Jim Dower: Unbeaten WBA World cruiserweight champion Yunier Dorticos (21-0, 20 KOs) will be defending his title on Saturday night against #6 WBA Dmitry Kudryashov (21-1, 21 KOs) in the World Boxing Super Series tournament at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

(Photo credit: Francisco Perez/Ringstar Sports)

The Dorticos vs. Kudryashov card will be streamed live at Dorticos and Kudryashov are part of the 8-fighter cruiserweight tournament put together by Ringstar Sports.

The 31-year-old Dorticos, who comes from Cuba, weighed in at 199 pounds on Friday at the weigh-in. Kudryashov, 31, weighed in right at the cruiserweight limit at 200 lbs. This came after Kudryashov weighed in ½ pound over the weight limit. He was given 45 minutes to take the half pound off, which he did. With it being just a half pound, it’s not likely to impact his performance tonight against Dorticos.

Dorticos is seen by many boxing fans as the favorite to beat Kudryashov, as he’s already been beaten previously by Olanrewaju Durodola by a 2nd round knockout on November 4, 2015. Kudryashov is a very slow starter, and Durodola took advantage of that by coming out swinging from the opening bell to get the stoppage in round 2. Dorticos is a pretty good fighter, but he’s not likely to win the World Boxing Super Series tournament. Dorticos is going to have problems when he gets in with the likes of Oleksandr Usyk, Mairis Briedis and Murat Gassiev. Those guys are all pretty solid fighters.

Dorticos comes into tonight’s fight as rated as the number 4 seed in the World Boxing Super Series tournament. Dorticos was elevated from interim WBA World cruiserweight champion to the full WBA ‘regular’ title holder on June 19 of this year. There are 3 other cruiserweight world champions in the WBSS tournament, and those are Mairis Briedis [WBC champ], Murat Gassiev [IBF champ] and Oleksandr Usyk (WBO champ].

Dorticos is hoping to win the WBSS tournament and unify all the belts in the cruiserweight division. That would be a HUGE accomplishment if Dorticos can do that, since he’s not viewed as that kind of a major talent. Dorticos is more along the lines of being about as good as Kalenga. He’s obviously a little better than him, but he’s not a major talent like some of the other fighters in the tourney.

“My main motivation is to become world champion and show that I’m the best in the division,” said Kudryashov via “I’m the most powerful fighter in this division and everyone will see that.”

The hard hitting Russian Kudryashov comes into tonight’s fight against the Cuban Dorticos with a 3-fight winning streak since his knockout loss to Durodola in 2015. Kudryashov has since beaten Durodola by a 5th round knockout on June 3 of this year, Santander Silgado and Julio Cesar Dos Santos. Kudryashov seems to have gotten better since his loss to Durodola. Just how much better is hard to know. We’ll find out tonight if Kudryashov has the talent to beat a boxer/puncher like Dorticos.

This is going to be a different type of fight for Kudryashov compared to the ones he’s had in the past. He’ll need to be able to deal with the finesse oriented style from Dorticos for him to win. Dorticos doesn’t always slug. Like a lot of Cuban fighters, Dorticos is crafty, and he has a lot of different ways to beat you. Dorticos will try every trick he can for him to get the victory. For Kudryashov, he’ll need to start fast and make sure he doesn’t fall into any of Dorticos’ traps.

Dorticos, 6’3”, has been a pro since 2009. He has wins over Youri Kayembre Kalenga, Fulgencio Zuniga, Galen Brown, Edison Miranda and Eric Fields. Those are mostly journeyman level fighters except for Kalenga. Dorticos was losing to Kalenga until stopping him in the 10th round in his last fight on May 20, 2016. It’s been over a year since Dorticos last fought.

Dorticos has not been busy lately with his boxing career. He fought just 1 time in 2016, and not at all in 2017. There was also a 2-year gap where Dorticos didn’t fight from 2011 to 2013. Dorticos has not been really busy for the last 6 years the way you would think that a good cruiserweight should.

“This is definitely the best fight of the tournament,” said Dorticos via ” I have a strong opponent in front of me, but I know what I’m capable of. I’m going to go out there and study him the first few rounds and then break him down. I have to execute my game plan.”

I don’t agree that this is the best fight of the tournament. I don’t see Dorticos or Kudryashov as being talented enough on their own to make their fight the best. Dorticos isn’t even the best Cuban in the tournament in my opinion. I rate Mike Perez as a better fighter than Dorticos. With the way Dorticos struggled against Kalenga in his last fight, he’s definitely not the best or even the second-best fighter in the World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight portion of the 8-man tournament.

Former 4 division world champion Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire (37-4, 24 KOs) will be fighting tonight on the undercard against Ruben Garcia Hernandez (22-2-1, 9 KOs) in a scheduled 10 round fight for the vacant WBC Silver featherweight title. Donaire, 34, weighed in at 125.5 lbs. at Friday’s weigh-in. Hernandez weighed 126 lbs. Donaire is getting up there in age, and he’s not the fighter that he once was. However, his punching power is still as good as ever.

Donaire lost his last fight against unbeaten Jessie Magdaleno in losing a 12 round unanimous decision on November 5 last year. The loss for Donaire saw him lose his WBO World super bantamweight title. Donaire is moving back up to featherweight in hopes of having more energy in this division due to it being easier to make the weight. The division is stacked right now. Donaire’s best chance of winning a world title at 126 would be to go after the vulnerable IBF belt holder Lee Selby or WBO champion Oscar Valdez.

Both fighters look very flawed and beatable for a guy like Donaire. Someone for Donaire to stay away from would be WBC champ Gary Russell Jr. and WBA champions Abner Mares and Leo Santa Cruz. Those guys are probably too good for Donaire at this point in his career. Donaire can probably still do well, but only if he’s in with Valdez or Selby. I don’t think he’ll do well at all against the better fighters in the featherweight division.

One problem that Donaire has that works against him is his age. If he can’t get a quick title shot against Valdez or Selby, then it could take more years than he has left of his fleeting prime for him to eventually get a crack against either of those guys. Donaire is 34 now. If he has to wait until he’s 36 to get a title shot, then he might be too old by that point for him to be able to have a chance of beating one of them. Donaire’s popular name should get him a world title shot. Top Rank will likely feel comfortable enough to let Valdez fight Donaire. Top Rank needs Valdez, 26, to add a well-known name like Donaire’s to his resume for him to become a star. That could be Donaire’s chance to beat the flawed Valdez to take his World Boxing Organization title, and setup a big money rematch.

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