World Boxing Super Series officials on Tuesday confirmed perhaps the worst-kept secret in boxing — that it will stage an eight-man single elimination tournament in the junior welterweight division during its second season beginning in the fall.
“We are very delighted to announce [junior welterweight] as our second weight class of the upcoming season,” said promoter Kalle Sauerland, the chief boxing officer for tournament organizer Comosa AG. “[Junior welterweight] is without a doubt one of the most action-packed weight divisions in boxing and we have a sensational lineup to be announced.”
The field for the 140-pound tournament has not yet been announced, but it is an open secret throughout the industry that it is expected to include Regis Prograis (21-0, 18 KOs), 29, a Houston southpaw, as long as he defeats Juan Jose Velasco on July 14 in the main event of the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card; Cleveland contender Ryan Martin (22-0, 12 KOs), 25; world titleholder Kiryl Relikh (22-2, 19 KOs), 28, of Belarus, who likely will take on former titlist and mandatory challenger Eduard Troyanovsky (27-1, 24 KOs), 37, of Russia, in the quarterfinals; and Russia’s Ivan Baranchyk (18-0, 11 KOs), 25, and Anthony Yigit (21-0-1, 7 KOs), 26, of Sweden, who would meet for a vacant world title in another quarterfinal.
Two other fighters who have been prominently mentioned as possible entrants:
• Maurice Hooker (24-0-3, 16 KOs), 28, of Dallas, who won a vacant world title by split decision over Terry Flanagan on June 9. His team told ESPN it is considering an invitation to join the tournament.
• Josh Taylor (13-0, 11 KOs), 27, a southpaw from Scotland, who on Saturday won a hard-fought unanimous decision against former world titleholder Viktor Postol in a title elimination fight.
There will be three tournaments in the second season, up from two in the first season. The World Boxing Super Series has already announced that another of the second season tournaments will take place in the bantamweight division with four participants, all holding title belts, set to take part: Ryan Burnett (19-0, 9 KOs), 26, of Northern Ireland; Zolani Tete (27-3, 21 KOs), a 30-year-old southpaw from South Africa; Emmanuel Rodriguez (18-0, 12 KOs), 25, of Puerto Rico; and 25-year-old Japanese star Naoya Inoue (16-0, 14 KOs).
The World Boxing Super Series first season has not yet been completed. Tournaments in the cruiserweight and super middleweight division are down to the finals, which will take place later this summer after being postponed due to injuries.
In the cruiserweight tournament, Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk (14-0, 11 KOs), who owns two belts, and Russia’s Murat Gassiev (26-0, 19 KOs), who also owns two, will meet for the undisputed world title. The super middleweight final will match world titleholder George Groves (28-3, 20 KOs) against British countryman Callum Smith (24-0, 17 KOs).
Article courtesy of ESPN