Mairis Briedis secured his place in the final of the World Boxing Super Series after a controversial third-round knockout of Krzysztof Glowacki.
Briedis, the new WBO cruiserweight champion, made up for the disappointment of losing to Oleksandr Usyk in last year’s semi-finals by delighting his home fans with a thrilling finish at the Riga Arena in Latvia.
The fight burst into life in the second round when Briedis responded to being hit on the back of the head in a clinch with an elbow which sent the Polish southpaw to the canvas.
Referee Robert Byrd deducted a point for the elbow rather than calling a disqualification; the action resuming, before Briedis landed a right to drop Glowacki for a second time.
The 32-year-old made it unsteadily to his feet only to be dropped again after the bell had sounded; Byrd bizarrely letting the fight go on.
Confusion reigned at ringside with the Polish fighter’s corner demanding an explanation from the referee but Briedis settled matters shortly after the start of the third by landing two right uppercuts followed by a right hook to finish the fight.
“In the second round he punched me in the back of the head,” Breidis said on Sky Sports afterwards.
“Then I think the referee didn’t do nothing, then I did a little bit of a dirty punch but I’m sorry for how I responded, it’s my old Muay Thai style.”