Bellew vs Flores: Mairis Briedis stops Simon Vallily to set up Tony Bellew clash
By Matt Horan
Last Updated: 15/10/16 8:19pm
WBC mandatory challenger Mairis Briedis moved closer to a fight with Tony Bellew after stopping Simon Vallily in Liverpool.
The unbeaten Latvian, now 21-0-KO17, was given a slot on the undercard to Bellew's WBC cruiserweight world title defence against BJ Flores and took little time in dispatching his Middlesbrough foe.
It was an opportunity for Briedis to showcase his skills in front of an observant Echo Arena crowd, which included Bellew's promoter Eddie Hearn and trainer David Coldwell, and the Latvian gave the Liverpool fans an idea of what their local favourite will be up against should they meet next year.
Vallily himself came into the fight undefeated, having won all nine of his professional fights, but made a mighty jump up in class to take on the highly-rated Latvian and it inevitably proved a step too far.
The two fighters used the first round to feel each other out and both had moments of success as they battled for the centre of the ring with Vallily slipping shots and looking for counters.
In the second though, Briedis started to take over and in planting his feet, he began to land some heavy-handed shots and almost had the Middlesbrough fighter down towards the end of the round, following a big right hand.
Vallily survived the round but the onslaught continued in the third as Briedis continued to march forward and unload on his opponent.
After being badly rocked several times and being put down by a left hook to the body, an exhausted and valiant Vallily was put out of his misery as the referee stopped proceedings as the round neared its end.
Briedis can now look forward to a WBC world title shot and may be back in Liverpool sooner rather than later.