Tag Archives: super

Golovkin Could Move Up to Super Middleweight to Face Champ Callum Smith


By: Michael Kane

Could Gennady Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs) be following Canelo Alvarez to the super middleweight division?

According to Matchroom Promotions supremo Eddie Hearn that is a possibility.

Canelo (50-1-2, 34 KOs) faces WBA Regular champ Rocky Fielding (27-1,15 KOs) in New York on Dec 15th, in a debut fight at the 168 lbs division. Hearn has said talks have started about GGG taking on WBA Super champion Callum Smith (25-0, 18 KOs), potentially at the home of Liverpool FC, Anfield, next year.

If Smith doesn’t face GGG then there is talk of him moving to light heavyweight for a shot against one of the champions from that division.

“I’ve spoken to Tom Loeffler [‘GGG’s promoter] about it before,” Hearn told Sky Sports, “not since the press conference last week though

“That’s my No 1 choice for Callum Smith.

“I think it’s a fight that fills Anfield. It’s a great profile fight, it’s a great fight, full stop.

“Also, for Golovkin it gives him a chance to move up, do what ‘Canelo’ is doing, fight for the ‘Super’ title, and also for the ‘Ring’ magazine title at 168lbs.”

GGG may fancy a move up to super middleweight having competed at middleweight for so long and could set up another blockbuster with Canelo in the process, this time at super middleweight.

“If he [Golovkin] is even close to the mark in terms of weight at middleweight, it might be a good option,” Hearn continued.

“But whether he wants to take that risk before a possible third Canelo fight, I don’t know.”

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WBSS on DAZN Preview: Briedis vs. Mikaelian, Glowacki vs. Vlasov


By: Hector Franco

This weekend at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois the World Boxing Super Series will be in full effect with the quarterfinals of the Cruiserweight division portion of the tournament. In the main event, Latvia’s Mairis Briedis (24-1, 18 KOs) will be taking on Germany’s Noel Mikaelian (23-1, 10 KOs) for the WBC cruiserweight diamond belt. Join DAZN free for 30 days and live-stream fight night anywhere!

Fans may remember Briedis for his stint in the first season of the World Boxing Super Series. At the time of the tournament, Briedis was the WBC cruiserweight champion winning the vacant title from former cruiserweight champion Marco Huck in early 2017. Entering the tournament, Briedis was considered one of the tournament favorites including Oleksandr Usyk and Murat Gassiev. In the first round, Briedis won a clear unanimous decision over former heavyweight contender Mike Perez. The Latvian cruiserweight would then go on to face the eventual winner of the tournament in Usyk. Looking back at the level of dominance Usyk has displayed thus far throughout his career, Briedis was able to give the Ukrainian his toughest test falling short in a close majority decision loss.


Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account

Briedis’ ability to give one of the best fighters in the sport a run for their money makes him this year’s tournament favorite this season. Briedis’ opponent, Noel Mikaelian, is not well known in the United States; however, his only defeat came at the hands of Poland’s Krzysztof Wlodarczyk who also participated in last season’s cruiserweight tournament. What will be detrimental to Mikaelian is that he has been inactive for the last 14 months with his last victory coming in September of 2017 against Isiah Thomas. The fight with Briedis will be Mikaelian’s first time-fighting in the United States and just the second time for the Latvian fighter.

For a first-round opponent, it may not get any tougher than having to face Briedis. For that reason, he will be the heavy favorite to advance to the semi-finals.

The main co-feature fight will be another quarterfinal tournament bout in the cruiserweight division featuring former WBO cruiserweight champion Krzysztof Glowacki (30-1, 19 KOs) taking on Russia’s Maksim Vlasov (42-2, 25 KOs). Glowacki is best known for his exciting, action-packed style that has provided fans with some of the best cruiserweight fights of this era. The Polish fighter’s 2015 bout with Marco Huck was one of the best fights of that year and showed that he could bounce back from being knocked down earlier on to come back to win by knockout. As is the case with a vast majority of top cruiserweights, Glowacki’s only blemish on his record stems from a bout with Usyk in September 2016.

Glowacki’s opponent Vlasov has fought as low as the middleweight division with his last defeat coming at the hands of current WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez in 2015. Since then, Vlasov has won 12 fights in a row with ten of those victories by way of stoppage. The only other defeat on Vlasov’s record is against light heavyweight contender Isaac Chilemba. Needless, to say that while Vlasov has not faced the elite at cruiserweight the gap in competition between him and Glowacki is not as extensive as one would think.

The city of Chicago has one of the largest Polish immigrant populations in the United States, and as seen in his fights with Huck and Steve Cunningham, Glowacki will have a large contingent of supporters in the arena. Fans in attendance can expect an action-packed battle between Glowacki and Vlasov who are the same age (32) and will continue the international rivalry between Russia and Poland.

The fights will stream live on DAZN this Saturday, November 10th at 8:00 pm ET.

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WBSS on DAZN Preview: Taylor vs. Martin; Burnett vs. Donaire


By: Ste Rowen

On Saturday night two of Britain’s best take to the ring for the World Boxing Super Series as 140lb number two, seed Josh Taylor of Scotland, fights undefeated American, Ryan Martin; while WBA bantamweight champion, Ryan Burnett of Belfast, steps in with future hall of famer, Nonito Donaire. Watch the fight on DAZN.

Whether watching at home or inside the arena you’re sure to remember at least one thing from Josh Taylor’s World Boxing Super Series quarter-final vs. Ryan Martin, and that’s noise. When the ‘Tartan Tornado’ appears to the crowd for the first time on Saturday, the Scottish crowd will erupt. Covering Martin, in a cacophony of sound he’s never felt before as a boxer.


Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account

Taylor’s professional-breakout fight was in his five-round dismantling of super-lightweight gatekeeper, Dave Ryan at Meadowbank Sports Arena, in 2016 and since then, five out of Taylor’s six fights have taken place either in Glasgow or his home city of Edinburgh. The fan-base has grown and with it, the anticipation of what the Scottish fans will bring.

Saturday nights venue, SSE Hydro was the base for the 2014 Commonwealth games in Glasgow, where Taylor won gold, so it stands to reason that he’ll be forever linked with the venue,
‘‘The Hydro is now my home. Every time I fight there I’m getting stronger and stronger and the fans are getting bigger and noisier.’’

The ‘Tartan Tornado’s’ last two fight have taken place at the SSE. Five months ago, the Scottish southpaw went head to head with former world champion, Viktor Postol in his most important professional fight to date.

His performance matched the event, as Taylor, now 13-0 (11KOs) battled through 12 exhausting rounds, dropping the Ukrainian in the 11th, to add another notch to his record and emerge as arguably, the biggest threat outside of the current 140lb world champions,

‘‘My style is based on hand speed and timing. I can punch hard as well…I know if I’m hitting you, I’m putting you down or hurting you. I don’t think there’s anybody that boxes the way I box.’’

‘‘I’ve seen every type of style, every type of fighting you can imagine… My ambition is to move forward, win this tournament and become world champion.’’

Before entering the WBSS, Taylor was making his way through the WBC rankings to eventually face one of the organisation’s belt holders, Jose Ramirez or already confirmed semi-finalist, Regis Prograis. If he wins on Saturday though, he’ll instead face the recently crowned IBF champion, Ivan Baranchyk for that title and a place in the final to fight either Kiryl Relikh or Prograis.

Ryan ‘Blue Chip’ Martin has fluctuated between lightweight and super-lightweight throughout his pro career. Currently 22-0 (12KOs) and training out of Big Bear under the tutelage of Abel Sanchez, Martin has won minor lightweight titles as an amateur and as a professional.

Towards the end of last year, he picked up the 135lb WBA Inter-Continental strap with a split decision victory over Francisco Rojo; as well as already being the owner of the WBC ‘Americas’ lightweight belt. However, his two fights this year came at the weight class above including a shut-out points victory over Briedis Prescott in May.

Though 22 bouts in, his professional record has been steady in its progress; Martin’s not the type of man who takes any opponent lightly,

‘‘I know Josh Taylor’s a very good boxer, I’m the most athletic, I have the most speed and that’s gonna make the most difference throughout the tournament.’’

‘‘I’ve heard the crowd in Scotland is gonna be a very different atmosphere than I’ve ever been in but I’m gonna soak it all in.’’

Although ‘Blue Chip’ won’t have fought in an atmosphere as raucous as Saturday’s is expected to be, he’s no stranger to performing on the big stage having already performed at venues such as, the StubHub Center in LA, Vegas’s T-Mobile Arena and, probably the most famous boxing venue of all, Madison Square Garden,

‘‘I’m a boxer-puncher. I love to entertain, I love to excite people…Nobody wants to see a boring fighter.’’

‘‘As fighter’s every time we step in the ring we’re risking something so why not risk it on the big stage.
As mentioned earlier, the man to emerge victorious this weekend will go on to face Ivan Baranchyk in the semi-finals, who last week scored a 7th round stoppage victory over Anthony Yigit.

Ryan Burnett vs. Nonito Donaire

The fourth and final bantamweight quarter-final sees WBA ‘Super’ champion, Ryan Burnett step into the ring with ‘The Filipino Flash’, Nonito Donaire. The winner will progress to the semis to fight WBO champion, Zolani Tete.

No one can say the 26-year-old Ryan Burnett hasn’t earned his place at the top table of 118lb boxers. The Belfast man has, on numerous occasions, been given reasons to quit boxing, his story, which he outlines in another brilliantly put together Super Series documentary here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uu4AaO7UGlc isn’t your regular hard knocks tale.


Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account

He’s overcome neurological issues that he was told were career-ending and been homeless; all before even catching his break in the sport.

‘‘I’ve got a hunger that I know no one in there has.’’

‘‘For a year and a half, we learnt how the brain worked and we started pursuing it to prove that my health wasn’t in any danger…I just always had that mad belief that I am meant to be a world champion.’’

Since around 2014, Burnett has been trained by Adam Booth and since then, established a record of 19-0 (9KOs) which, most significantly, includes becoming a world champion in 2017, for the first time via a completely dominant decision victory over Lee Haskins, and then immediately unifying the WBA and IBF championships with a tough but unanimous points win over Zhanat Zhakiyanov.

Before the WBSS second season fighters was announced, Burnett decided to drop the IBF strap, therefore avoiding a fight with WBSS semi-finalist, and now IBF champion, Emmanuel Rodriguez. Instead, Ryan’s one bout so far in 2018 was a fairly routine victory over Venezuelan, Yonfrez Parejo on the undercard of Anthony Joshua vs. Joseph Parker.

Like all of the top seeds across the Super Series, Burnett recognises the pressure on his shoulders, especially when he’s going up against the power that his Filipino foe is known for,

‘‘I don’t need to be nasty to people, I’m able to switch it like a light switch and I turn into a different person…I picked Nonito because, the better the fighter, the better I become.’’

‘‘We all dream of these moments of fighting the best and becoming the best in the world and the World Boxing Super Series are making that come true.’’

Currently 38-5 (24KOs), Nonito Donaire’s, last fight was also his latest defeat as ‘The Filipino Flash’ was beaten by Burnett’s fellow Northern Irishman, Carl Frampton.

Speaking at the press conference on Wednesday, the four-weight world champion was asked about any similarities between the two men,

‘‘They (Frampton & Burnett) are similar because they’ve both got big balls. They’re there to fight and that’s something that I like… I’m just grateful to be in the ring with a great man.’’

Nonito hasn’t fought at bantamweight since 2011 when he scored a unanimous decision over, a then 35-0-2, Omar Narvaez. That night in New York he became a two-weight world champion, picking up the WBC & WBO straps as well as improving his own record to 27-1.

He then shifted his sights to super-bantam and eventually the featherweight division where he accomplished world honours in both, but by his own admission, he didn’t feel all together comfortable fighting at the 126lb limit, and the tournament has given him the opportunity to add one more achievement to his already impressive accolades.

‘‘I’ve always come to fight the best out there…I’ve achieved pretty much everything in boxing…The only thing I haven’t done in boxing is become the undisputed champion, and that’s the one thing that’s given me this fire.’’

It’s beneficial for both sides as well though as Donaire’s legendary status adds an extra bit of flavour to an already appetising class of fighters that has been whittled down to Naoya Inoue, Emmanuel Rodriguez and Zolani Tete.

‘‘This is a moment for me to rise. When one is driven to a point, there’s only one way to go and that’s going up and that’s rising beyond what I’m capable of.’’

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World Boxing Super Series Soldiers On, Even If You’re Not Watching


By Jake Donovan

One week after Emmanuel Rodriguez and Yunier Dorticos were both dragged through hell in order to secure well-deserved victories in Orlando, Regis Prograis and Ivan Baranchyk found new ways to take their respective careers to new heights in separate dominant wins Saturday evening in New Orleans.

The boxing world should be talking loud and proud about each of these four boxers, all of whom have advanced to the next round of the latest edition of World Boxing Super Series. Instead, all were forced to ply their trade in front of near-empty venues and with little outside fanfare beyond the sport’s hardcore due to their events playing second fiddle on their own platform.

So continues the struggles of rallying the U.S. boxing audience around the WBSS brand, a sad commentary as the series as a whole deserves a far more resounding response.


Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account

Whereas its overseas offerings have little difficulty commanding attention, the four stateside shows to date between the WBSS’ two seasons have featured little in the way of full-scale promotion, which has been reflected at the box office and in TV interest. Tournament handlers appeared to have learned from mistakes made in Season One, with this year’s offering featuring six WBSS doubleheaders rather than each bout topping its own card.

It meant a stacked card in Japan to kick off the series, with regional hero and rising bantamweight superstar Naoya Inoue destroying former champ Juan Carlos Payano in barely over a minute. The show aired on Sunday afternoon in Japan, which meant early Sunday morning for stateside viewers who were able to view on DAZN-USA which has picked up the U.S. broadcasts rights for the entire WBSS tournament spanning three weight divisions.

Despite the odd time slot for a typical boxing broadcast airing stateside, the event was able to command attention thanks to a big splash from DAZN USA presenting its first-ever US-based card barely eight hours prior in Chicago. Through cross-promotion came the extra push the event deserved, and fans willing to wake up a little earlier than normal in this corner of the world in order to catch Inoue and Kiryl Relikh (whom bested Eduard Troyanovsky in a 140-pound title defense) advance to the WBSS semifinal round of their respective weight divisions.

A similarly less distracting atmosphere came of the October 13 WBSS doubleheader from Russia. While wins posted by visiting cruiserweight Andrew Tabiti and well traveled bantamweight tiitlist Zolani Tete over house favorites Ruslan Fayfer and two-time Olympian Mikhail Aloyan lacked action, the advancement in their respective careers received deserved attention due to not having to compete for coverage.

The most significant boxing card of the day would come hours later on ESPN, with Terence Crawford stopping Jose Benavidez in the 12th round of the most watched U.S. televised boxing match of 2018. The spacing out between events meant most in the boxing industry were able to give their undivided attention to both shows.

That has simply not at all been the case for the past two WBSS offerings.

Conflicting telecasts is hardly anything new in boxing culture, but normally coming from rival networks or promoters. In each of the past two weeks, WBSS coverage was trumped by more high profile events offered by promoter Eddie Hearn, the primary boxing content provider for DAZN-USA.

Everything about Rodriguez’ gutsy win over Jason Moloney should’ve commanded boxing headlines. Their 12-round war is among the short list of viable Fight of the Year candidates, and Rodriguez’ eventual well-earned split decision victory setting up a mouthwatering bantamweight semifinal matchup with Inoue, a bout that is rumored to land stateside.

The perfect primer to the Rodriguez-Moloney slugfest came in the form of Dorticos’ brave stand versus a tough-as-nails challenger in Poland’s Mateusz Masternak. Dorticos is never in a bad fight—his TKO loss to Murat Gassiev in the Season One WBSS cruiserweight semifinals earlier this year also garnering Fight of the Year consideration—and his latest feat was no exception.

Unfortunately, the event came in front of a sparse Orlando crowd devoid of atmosphere, and playing second fiddle among the U.S. boxing audience to Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing USA-promoted event in Boston, headlined by Demetrius Andrade’s vacant middleweight title-winning shutout effort over Namibia’s Walter Kautondokwa. DAZN-USA’s core boxing crew was on hand for the latter event, with the WBSS offering on the same streaming platform carrying that DAZN brand only in televised rights but without any of the production value or promotion.

Prograis’ latest hometown headliner on Saturday suffered the same fate.

The unbeaten New Orleans native showed new elements to his game, offering a complete performance through a more subdued attack in dominating former lightweight titlist and still highly credible Terry Flanagan. The virtual shutout win included a knockdown of Flanagan, who’d previously never been down as a pro, as Prograis—in going 12 rounds for the first time in his career—showed that his boxing ability is just as strong as his explosive knockout game.

Much like the forthcoming November 10 WBSS cruiserweight doubleheader airing live from Chicago, Saturday’s show was intriguing in that both legs of the telecast featured bouts in the same weight class. While the winners won’t face off next—Prograis will next face Relikh, while Bananchyk awaits the winner of next week’s clash between Josh Taylor and Ryan Martin—Saturday night’s show very well could have provided a glimpse into the super lightweight finals.

That’s how dominant was Ivan Baranchyk’s performance, completely shutting the left eye of Anthony Yigit who bravely fought on to the point of even protesting the mandated stoppage by the ringside physician after seven physical rounds. Baranchyk picked up a vacant title for his effort, but seemed secondary to his not only remaining unbeaten but posing as a deep threat to Prograis and the rest of the bantamweight field.

Prograis and Baranchyk have plenty for which to be proud, but their moments of glory came in front of a near-empty room in a New Orleans venue that featured a much healthier crowd when Prograis performed just four months prior. This time around, it was DAZN-USA’s only boxing show on the night but from a notoriety perspective paled in comparison to a Hearn-promoted HBO triple header featuring storylines galore—including Daniel Jacobs re-emerging toward the top of the middleweight division following a hard-fought win over unbeaten and longtime training stablemate Sergiy Derevyanchenko to win a vacant title.

The WBSS tournament drifts back overseas to Glasgow, Scotland this weekend. Taylor and Martin will compete in a battle of unbeaten super lightweights looking to land a semifinal date with Baranchyk, while Ryan Burnett and former four-division champ Nonito Donaire meet with the winner to face Tete in the bantamweight semifinals.

One week later will come the cruiserweight doubleheader at UIC Pavilion in Chicago, where the winners between Mairis Breidis-Noel Gevor and Krzysztof Glowacki-Maksim Vlasov will collide early next year in the cruiserweight semifinals. A swarm of tickets still remain for the show, with barely a ripple of news having come of the event since the batch of stories that followed its initial announcement more than a month ago.

The good news for stateside viewers is that the November 10 cruiserweight show doesn’t have any competition on the dial. However, the most significant show of the day—and even of the division, for that matter—will come earlier from London.

That’s when World cruiserweight king and WBSS Season One winner Oleksandr Usyk will face Tony Bellew, also to be carried on DAZN, and to feature the platform’s primary crew and leading promoter. Their event—which in fairness is a massive one—has already benefited from live cross-promotion in each of the first two DAZN-USA live streams.

Nothing even remotely close has been afforded to any of the six Season Two WBSS telecasts. Suffering the most has been the (lack of) promotion for the five past and forthcoming stateside shows between the two seasons, all of which deserve a much better fate.

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WBSS on DAZN Results: Prograis Defeats Flanagan; Baranchyk Stops Yigit


By: Ste Rowen

Tonight in The Big Easy, it was anything but easy viewing for the main event audience as, Regis Prograis battled his way to a unanimous decision victory over terry Flanagan; and, in more pleasant viewing, Ivan Baranchyk became the new IBF 140lb champion to score a 7th round technical stoppage over Anthony Yigit; both to progress to the semi-finals of their respective WBSS semi-finals.

Prograis now moves on to face Kiryl Relikh in the semi-finals; whilst Baranchyk faces the winner of next week’s matchup between Josh Taylor vs. Ryan Martin.

Both main event fighter’s southpaws, Prograis and Flanagan, were clearly weary of the other’s qualities as the two WBSS quarterfinalists fought off a steady jab through the early rounds into the 4th. ‘Turbo’ was in the fight but offering very little other than making it difficult for Prograis to initiate a substantial offense.


Photo Credit: DAZN Twitter Account

Both boxers seemed more mobile through the middle rounds, but there was only one man, home fighter Regis, who wanted to bring the excitement tonight. Flanagan seemed to have resigned himself to the occasional overhand counter. The Manchester native’s combinations weren’t quick enough to land on ‘Rougarou’.

At the end of round 6, Prograis gestured to his home crowd to pick up the atmosphere, a sure sign that the fight was lacking action. The American, in black and gold shorts, did his best to break out a fight but as the saying goes, it takes two to tango, and the away fighter had no desire to dance anything but his own moves.

With just over two minutes left of the 8th, Prograis dropped Flanagan. ‘Turbo’ took the 8-count and the onslaught that followed from the WBC ‘Interim’ champ, to survive the round. Now the crowd was making the noise Regis wanted to hear. But the 9th began as if the previous round hadn’t happened, ‘Turbo’ persisted with his earlier tactics, and Prograis reverted to a jab and hook manoeuvre.

Through 10 and 12, more of the same occurred as the American looked for a way in, but Terry nullified most shots that came his way, without firing back with his own arsenal.

It’s not hard to see what Flanagan’s plan was at the start of tonight’s bout, it is difficult however, to understand what ‘Turbo’ was looking to do in the championship rounds. The former WBO lightweight champion did very little in terms of attack compared to ‘Rougarou’ and by the final bell it felt as if the Manchester fighter came to survive rather than to win. Regis’ jab ruled the fight throughout and saw him to the final bell.

It was never in doubt as the crowd waited for the judge’s final scorecards. The announcer called, 119-108, 118-109, 117-110 all for Regis Prograis, who spoke after the fight,

‘‘I want to bring big time boxing back to New Orleans and guess what? I did it. We gonna do it again.’’

‘‘I boxed my ass off. Most people say I can’t box, I can’t do this, I can’t do that, I only got power, now I showed you I can go 12 rounds with a world class fighter…It doesn’t matter who the hell I fight, the Muhammad Ali trophy is mine.’’

Ivan Baranchyk vs. Anthony Yigit

Baranchyk ‘The Beast’ may have been born in Belarus, but the super-lightweight has made his home in the US, and tonight it seemed as though he’d made his home in New Orleans as he fell into his stride early on into tonight’s bout.

From the first bell both fighters went in search for the big, finisher. Yigit, the southpaw struggled to make as much as an impact as his Belarussian opponent who, on multiple occasions through the early rounds, impactfully jerked the Swedes head back.


Photo Credit: DAZN Twitter Account

Yigit was throwing well, but volume counts for nothing if it doesn’t land. Baranchyk was living to his pseudonym of ‘The Beast’ into rounds 2 and 3 as he landed with precision, rarely wasting shots, and though at times he was using his face as his best defence, Ivan’s chin stood up and allowed him to fire off hooks more efficiently.

It seems a little lazy to compare an eastern European fighter to Gennady Golovkin but, Baranchyk really does resemble an early day’s version of the Kazakh. Ivan seems to trust so much in his chin and accuracy that he’s prepared to go toe to toe, and jaw to jaw, with whatever opponent he faces.

Into round 4 there was now swelling below Yigit’s left eye. The pressure seemed beginning to tell, but the Swedish southpaw clearly hadn’t got the message as he rushed into attacks, attempting to restrain his foe’s outside game. It wasn’t working, and by the 6th, Yigit’s left eye looked ready to blow. Baranchyk was firing from all angles, and almost without meaningful reply by now, but he knew where the most valuable punches needed to land.

Through to the 7th, no one could question Anthony’s desire. As his eye only swelled further, the Swede, 21-0-1 (7KOs) heading into tonight, seemed to have no quit in him. Though surely only being able to see out of one eye. Yigit was prepared to go head to head with one of the 140lb division’s most dangerous boxers, meeting Baranchyk in the middle of the ring when, arguably, he should have been evading attack trying to tire his opponent out.

With a minute left of round 7, the referee, Phil Edwards, took a point from Baranchyk for what seemed to be pushing down on his opponent. Harsh considering when up close, Yigit seemed to be ducking. It didn’t matter though as, at the end of the same round, the ring doctor took another extensive look at the Swede’s eye and called an end to the bout, sending the Belarussian into the World Boxing Super Series semi-finals.

Yigit fiercely protested against the stoppage but it seemed the good doctor saved the Swede from himself. Yigit will walk away from tonight with credit in the bank and, a very worthy and attractive contender.

Baranchyk however, comes away from tonight as the IBF world champion and the second Super Series semi-finalist, set to face either Josh Taylor or Ryan Martin in the near future.
Speaking post-fight, the defeated Yigit was magnanimous in defeat,

‘‘Obviously, I am a fighter and you never want a fight to be stopped but maybe it was the right decision. People are telling me it looks pretty bad…Our game plan was to take him later on because we felt like he was gassing out…But they stopped the fight, so I couldn’t fulfil the game plan. He’s a hard hitter and he deserves this win.’’

The new IBF super-lightweight champion, Ivan, now 19-0 (12KOs), was complimentary towards his opponent,
‘‘It was a tough fight, but I win this fight. I win. He’s a tough guy but I love this. Anthony is a good guy, thank you…With him (Trainer, Pedro Diaz) I will win the Ali trophy.’’

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WBSS Recap: Rodriguez & Dorticos Earn Decision Victories to Progress to Final Four


By: Ste Rowen

In an intriguing night at Orlando’s CFE Arena, IBF champion, Emmanuel Rodriguez scored a competitive 12-round decision over Jason Moloney; while Yunier Dorticos of Cuba, earnt a tough, but dominant, unanimous decision over Mateusz Masternak, both to progress to the final four of the World Boxing Super Series.
Tonight’s results mean Puerto Rican bantamweight, Rodriguez will fight Naoya Inoue next, and Dorticos, former cruiserweight ‘Regular’ champion, takes on Andrew ‘The Beast’ Tabiti, in their respective WBSS semi-finals.


Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account

First up were the cruiserweights. Dorticos and Masternak started off their bout with a lot of jabs thrown but very little intent by either until, towards the end of the 2nd round, ‘The KO Doctor’ Dorticos lay on an onslaught of 1-2’s, forcing his Polish foe further and further back. The Pole survived but the pace of the fight was being firmly set by the Cuban.

Masternak sustained two cuts in round 3, one below his right and another above his left, but the former European champion regained composure as the fight unfolded into the middle rounds of the scheduled 12. Yunier, now 23-1-0 (20KOs), was mixing up his shots well. The frequent body attack in the early rounds let the crowd know that the former WBA ‘Regular’ champion was thinking long term for this matchup.

‘The Master’ may have taken punishment early, but through the 8th and 9th, Mateusz was showing that he wouldn’t be intimidated by Dorticos’ power. Even when the European touched the canvas in the 7th due to a slip and maybe a hint of fatigue, he rose calmly and initiated his own string of attacks. Miami resident, Dorticos, with the Orlando crowd audibly in his favour, tagged Masternak with a short right hand in the final 10 seconds of round 9. Once again, Masternak displayed his resoluteness to survive and come out swinging into the 10th.

The final rounds gave us more of the same dominance from ‘The KO Doctor’ and counters from the Polish Master. Both fighters went tit-for-tat in the 12th but the blooded face of Masternak seemed to tell the tale by the time the final bell rang.

And so, we waited for the final scorecards which returned as, 116-112, 115-113 (x2), all for Yunier Dorticos. The KO Doctor had prescribed a unanimous decision, and spoke post-fight via translator,

‘‘I came ready, I was prepared for 12 rounds. I gave the fans the best of everything I bring to the table.’’

And his thoughts on facing Andrew ‘The Beast’ Tabiti in the semi-finals,

‘‘Tabiti, be ready, The KO Doctor’s back and it aint gonna be easy. The Muhammad Ali Trophy, this time around, is mine, so you better make sure you train.’’

The final two cruiserweight WBSS quarter-finals are happening three weeks from now in Chicago when former WBC champion, Mairis Briedis comes up against Noel Gevor, and former WBO titlist, Krzysztof Glowacki fights Maksim Vlasov.

Emmanuel Rodriguez vs. Jason Moloney

In a candidate for fight of a stacked weekend, IBF titlist, Emmanuel Rodriguez roughed and toughed it out with unbeaten contender, Jason Moloney to earn a split decision over 12 rounds.

The IBF champion led with a heavy jab, multiplied his attack with swift overhand shots and evaded significant attack from his Australian opponent. Moloney is no pretender, 17-0, the Australian is undoubtedly a bantamweight contender, but unfortunately for Jason, ‘Manny’ seems to be in a class of few fighters that includes WBSS semi-finalist, Naoya Inoue, who was in attendance tonight.

Though perhaps lacking the power of Japanese phenom, Inoue, Rodriguez, now 19-0 (12KOs) is clinical in his offence. When he throws, he lands. When he dodges, he counters. Into round 4, Moloney began to find a little rhythm. The Australian became more mobile and freed up his shots, but, though there wasn’t much wrong with the tactics, ‘Manny’ figured it out as the bout headed into the middle rounds.

Moloney was more active through to round 9, the messages he was getting from his corner of Rodriguez’ legs ‘going’ were more hopeful than truthful. As the two fighters fought out round 8, the IBF champion, making his first defence, looked mean, almost annoyed that Jason was still hanging in. By the finale of the 9th, as Jason returned to his corner, the left-uppercut/right hand combo towards the end of the round from the Puerto Rican, had clearly left a lasting impression.

The bout entered the final three rounds, and though Moloney, was going all out, he struggled to do anything more than test Manny’s stamina. The blood thirsty crowd were appeased, with all-out action in the final two rounds but heading into the 12th, it looked as if Moloney would need the stoppage if he was gonna be the man to face Inoue next.

The Australian undoubtedly went for it, but the story of the fight seemed to be reoccurring as Moloney had the volume of punching, but the champ had the accuracy. The final scorecards, 115-113 for Moloney and 115-113 (x2) for Rodriguez came back closer than expected, but Rodriguez said he always felt confident, post-fight,
‘‘It took Moloney to bring the best out of me, but I knew I won the fight. We knew the fight was close, but my corner told me I was in front so, that’s what happened.’’

And Emmanuel’s thoughts on his future Japanese foe,

‘‘He’s a top fighter. I know he likes to finish his bouts with a KO…It’s gonna be a good fight and I can’t wait for it.’’

Semi-finalist and Emmanuel’s next opposition, Naoya Inoue joined Rodriguez in the ring and said,

‘‘I would like to congratulate Rodriguez on winning his fight today. I’m really excited that I’ll be facing Rodriguez in the semi-finals probably early next year.’’

The 4th 118lb quarter-final bout takes place in two weeks, when WBA champion, Ryan Burnett fights Filipino Flash, Nonito Donaire at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro. The winner of that matchup progresses on to fight WBO champion, Zolani Tete.

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World Boxing Super Series Preview: Rodriguez vs. Moloney, Dorticos vs. Masternak


By: Ste Rowen

In Orlando’s CFE Arena, a venue normally associated with basketball, World Boxing Super Series season one semi-finalist, Yunier Dorticos of Cuba faces Polish cruiserweight veteran, Mateusz Masternak for the right to face Andrew Tabiti in the next round of the Super Series tournament. Alongside the cruiserweight’s second, the 3rd round of WBSS bantamweights get underway as IBF champion, Emmanuel Rodriguez fights, Jason Moloney for the chance to face Naoya Inoue.

Yunier ‘KO Doctor’ Dorticos hasn’t fought since his Fight of the Year contender vs. Murat Gassiev last February. The Miami resident was brave, and emotional, in defeat eight months ago as he went tit-for-tat with then IBF champion Gassiev until ultimately, the Cuban was nailed with a wonderful counter left hook, shot from the hip, by the Russian and handing Dorticos his first professional defeat.

However, ‘The KO Doctor’ is far from down about that loss, if anything, going off the WBSS YouTube pre-fight documentary, Dorticos is more confident than ever,

‘‘Masternak? Master of nothing…Things are going to get really ugly for him.’’

‘‘I have to train to entertain…My style is aggressive, and I’ve always been aggressive… I respect my opponents as people, but I don’t respect them in the ring. I go out to get them.’’

Now 22-1 (21KOs), Yunier has no intention of changing his style this time around,

‘‘The defeat to Gassiev hurt, but when you get knocked down you get up again…Believe me, I am going to KO everyone in front of me this season…I’m here today because of a lot of sacrifice…No one ever gave me anything…’’

Mateusz ‘Master’ Masternak is 31 now but turned professional over twelve years ago. Perhaps defined mostly by his defeats, of which include the supremely talented, but injury-ridden Grigory Drozd and future Usyk opponent, Tony Bellew; Masternak does have victories over potential future hall of famer Jean Marc Mormeck, and twice winning against, his and Dorticos’ shared opponent, Youri Kalenga.

Currently 41-4 (28KOs), ‘Master’ recognizes the enormity of both the bout, and the challenge his opponent represents,

‘‘This is the most important fight of my career. It will determine whether I’m a world class boxer or a second league player…Dorticos is a great boxer. He made a great impression on the first edition of the tournament…But the odds aren’t stacked against me. If we do what we plan, we’ll be celebrating success.’’

It’s not just the Cuban juggernaut heading his way that Mateusz has to deal with. The Pole opened up about his struggle with long term spinal injuries but also, post-Bellew fight in 2015, problems with his vision,

‘‘Following the fight with Tony, I had crossed eyes…There was a problem when I turned my head, I had double vision. So, I saw two heads, so in order to be able to fight I had to change my boxing style.’’

‘‘I’ve been a professional boxer for 12 years, and my dream is to become the world champion. Never before have I been this close to achieving my goal.’’

The remaining quarter-finals to take place, both on the 10th November at Chicago’s UIC Pavilion, in the cruiserweight WBSS are;

Mairis Briedis vs. Noel Gevor
Krzysztof Glowacki vs. Maksim Vlasov

Emmanuel Rodriguez vs. Jason Moloney

In the third fight of the 118lb World Boxing Super Series, IBF champion, Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Rodriguez comes up against undefeated contender, Jason Moloney of Australia.

When Rodriguez, 18-0 12KOs) faced Paul Butler for the vacant IBF 118lb title earlier this year, it was all but confirmed that the winner would enter the World Boxing Super Series. Extra motivation perhaps then as, the Puerto Rican dominated ‘Baby Faced’ Butler over 12-rounds to claim his first world honours and dream of being THE man at 118lb.

Now the man tournament favourite, Naoya Inoue, named the ‘‘…best fight for me’’, has the opportunity to impress the audience and maybe, the Japanese ‘Monster’,

‘‘It’s now or never…I’m in this to win. We’re not here just to make up the numbers.’’

‘‘We’re going to be fully prepared for Jason Moloney. We know he’s unbeaten. He’s the mandatory challenger and hungry to be the world champion, just as I was when I had the opportunity.’’

‘‘I know I have the tools to beat Jason Moloney and anyone else that gets in our way.’’

Jason Moloney, twin brother of superfly contender, Andrew, earnt his path into the WBSS thanks to a technical stoppage over Kohei Kono. Currently the Ring Magazine’s 7th ranked bantamweight, the Australian cut Kono via a punch in round 3, which subsequently forced the end of the fight as the same cut, above the left eye, led to the referee waving off the bout at the beginning of the 7th, with Moloney clearly ahead on the cards.

Fighting outside of Australia for the first time, Jason, 17-0 (14KOs), is keen to prove his place in the tournament isn’t down to good luck,

‘‘I know I am the underdog in this tournament…People write me off because they haven’t seen much of me yet but, that excites me…It doesn’t worry me who we’re fighting. Stylistically I think I match up very well with Rodriguez.’’

‘‘The fans can expect an explosive, entertaining, all action fight. It’s my time to show the world what I’m capable of…If I fight to the best of my ability, I’ll win the fight.’’

The winner of Saturday’s 118lb matchup will take on Naoya Inoue at the semi-final stage. The fourth and final bantamweight quarter-final to take place will be between WBA ‘Super’ champion, Ryan Burnett and future hall of famer, Nonito Donaire, in Glasgow two weeks from this Saturday. The winner of that bout can look forward to a fight with WBO titlist, Zolani Tete, who grinded his way to victory over Mikhail Aloyan last weekend in Russia.

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Josh Taylor Confident Ahead of World Boxing Super Series Debut


By: Michael Kane

The World Boxing Super Series rolled into Glasgow today for a press conference ahead of their November 3rd show at the SSE Hydro Arena.

Ryan Burnett (19-0, 9 KO’S) defends his WBA ‘Unified’ championship against former multiple division world champion and legend of the sport Nonito Donaire (38-5, 24 KO’s)

However all eyes today were on a boxer, in which Scottish hopes of another world champion rest on, Prestonpans Josh Taylor.

Taylor (13-0, 11 KO’s) takes on American Ryan Martin (22-0, 12 KO’s) in a quarter final tie, with Taylor defending his WBC Silver Super Lightweight Title.

Taylor will be returning to a familiar venue having fought his last two fights at the Hydro, beating Winston Campos by 3rd round TKO in March and then an unanimous decision over former world champion Viktor Postol in June. Taylor also won gold at the Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow in 2014 as an amateur.

When asked about appearing at the Hydro Taylor said, “Its brilliant, I feel the Hydro is now my home, I’ve had such great success there since 2014.

“My biggest victories as a professional have been in the Hydro as well, so it definitely feels like my home. Looking forward to get travelling, going around the world as part of this tournament and seeing different places.”

What does Taylor expect to face from Martin?

“I’ve only seen bits and bobs of him, I’ve studied enough of him to know what I need to watch for.

“I know he’s a very well rounded fighter, got fast hands, good defensively. Good variation of punches and knows his way around the ring. He’s obviously got power as well although his record doesn’t say, only got 12 stoppages in his 22 wins.

“I know he’s going to throw punches and be strong and I’ll have my hands full. I’m fully confident I’m going to come out on top.”

Taylor continued to say how he feels great in training and more settled.

“The way I’ve been performing in the gym, I’m more settled now, got myself my own place down in London. So I’m settled, happy and I’m firing in the gym.

“I feel this is the best shape and condition I’ve been in since I turned professional, so feeling really confident.”

Taylor went on to say how he feels invincible fighting in front of his own fans.

“I think it’s brilliant, I don’t think there is anybody that will beat me in front of those fans at the Hydro.

“The atmosphere they make, the noise they make and the support they give me, they throw every single punch with me. So there is no way anybody will beat me in the Hydro, definitely no!”

There are a host of quality Super Lightweight fighters in the tournament, Regis Prograis, former world champion Terry Flanagan and WBA champion Kiryl Relikh. Does Taylor fear any of them?

“I’m not really fussed about any of the opposition. I feel I can beat every single one of them that’s in this competition.

“With that being said, they’re all good fighters, with good amateur careers and very tough fighters. They’re all undefeated, I think. Yeah it’s stiff opposition but I’m fully confident I’m going to come away with the trophy.”

With the World Boxing Super Series being a tournament, Taylor already knows who he could face in the semi finals should he over come Martin. He will face the winner of Ivan Baranchyk v Anthony Yigit who are fighting for the vacant IBF world championship.

Does Taylor have a preference?

“I don’t care. I think Baranchyk will probably get through that and if so I’m confident I can win that.

“And if Yigit wins it I know I will win that fight as well. I’ve had experience of him in the ring as a professional and experience of him in the amateurs as well. So I’m fairly confident of winning that fight so I’m not bothered who I face.”

With all indications pointing to a packed Hydro Arena backing Taylor, few would bet against him beating Martin and making it to the semi final for a chance at his first world title shot.

The hopes of Scotland rest on his shoulders to add another world champion to a list that includes Benny Lynch, Ricky Burns, Jim Watt and Ken Buchanan.

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WBSS Preview: Tete vs. Aloyan; Tabiti vs. Fayfer


By: Ste Rowen

After last weekend’s fights in Yokohama, the World Boxing Super Series for the bantamweights and super-lightweights is well underway. Naoya Inoue and Kiryl Relikh, progressed through to their respective weight-class tournaments and this weekend in Ekaterinburg, Russia the second bantamweight quarter-final between WBO champion, Zolani Tete and Russian, Mikhail Aloyan takes place for the right to face either WBA champ, Ryan Burnett or Nonito Donaire at the semi-final stage.

Tete, the South African responsible for the quickest knockout in world title fight history (11-second wipe-out of Siboniso Gonya) shot himself into the wider audience’s view after he defended his IBF super-flyweight title for the first time, against Paul Butler, stopping the challenger in eight rounds.


Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account

Zolani decided against chasing unification, opting to have two homecoming bouts, returning to England 12 months on from the Butler win, and seek out the best at bantamweight. He would eventually achieve his aim of becoming a two-weight world champion after that same record-breaking Gonya KO meant Tete became the new WBO world champion, putting the rest of the division on notice.

Despite an underwhelming 12-round decision, first defence over Omar Andres Navaez, the South African southpaw, speaking at Thursday’s press conference, is confident he can score the knockout this Saturday,

‘‘As a world champion you need to adjust and adapt in each and every style that a boxer brings…Aloyan is one of the best fighters in the Super Series. I believe it’s going to be a good fight and definitely I’m gonna take him out…Whatever he is bringing, it won’t have any place to stay.

My focus is to become a unified world champion.’’

Zolani, 27-3 (21KOs) currently on a run of 11 straight wins, even set his future ambitions further than the WBSS,
‘‘After I win all the belts in the bantamweight division, we’ll move up to the next division.’’

Tete’s opponent on Saturday night has an interesting history. Born in Armenia but raised and fought for Russia in the amateurs, Mikhail Aloyan, 4-0 (0KOs), was an outstanding amateur picking up gold medals in the 2009 & 2016 World Championships. Aloyan briefly added the 2016 Olympic silver medal until tests came back positive for the stimulant, Tuaminoheptane and the Court of Arbitration of Sports ruled on stripping the silver from Mikhail.

Though the Russian maintains his innocence, he hasn’t let it affect his acceleration through the early stages of his pro career. Also a southpaw, the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist has fought twice as at super-fly and twice at bantamweight, winning minor titles in both divisions. The combined record of his last three opponents is 46-1-2 (19KOs) and curiously, all four have so far all been from Nicaragua.

Aloyan, wasn’t allowing Tete’s talk of knockouts distract him at the press conference,

‘‘The fact that this fight takes place in Ekaterinburg, means we have an opportunity to bring out the best of our performance.

He is a strong opponent because he is a world champion…I’m not as experienced as a professional but we will see what happens on October 13th.’’

‘‘I will not speak about my opponent’s weaknesses.’’

The second season of the WBSS cruiserweights also gets going at the Ekaterinburg Expo, as unbeaten, American prospect, Andrew Tabiti steps into the ring with fellow undefeated fighter, Ruslan Fayfer, 23-0 (16KOs).

Tabiti, 16-0 (13KOs) was last seen sharing the ring with career-heavyweight, Lateef Kayode. An opponent ‘The Beast’ dispatched with inside 5 rounds with a precision right hand uppercut. It put to bed any demons left behind Tabiti’s controversial decision victory over cruiserweight veteran, Steve Cunningham on the Mayweather/McGregor undercard last year.
On Thursday, Tabiti, fighting outside of the US for the first time, was in confident mood,
‘‘I’m coming to this man’s country and take what he has. I’m on my A-game, I hope he’s on his A-game. It doesn’t matter how many fights he’s had; the quality of opponent is not anything for me to be afraid of.
I’m just coming to knock this guy out, that’s the only thing I’m worried about.’’

Ruslan Fayfer, 23-0(16KOs), born and raised in Russia, has mainly fought his career out above the 200lb limit, but in 23 fights, has yet to fight an outstanding name. The 27-year-old was taking a reserved approach in front of the media,
‘‘The fact I have more fights than my opponent does give me the ground to say I do have more experience than him…I am not going to reveal anything, I will show everything during the fight.
Everything you should see, you will see on Saturday night.’’

Saturday night’s winner of the cruiserweight showdown will fight either Yunier Dorticos or Mateusz Masternak.

The other WBSS cruiserweight quarter finals are as follows;
Yunier Dorticos vs. Mateusz Masternak – 20th October 2018
Mairis Briedis vs. Noel Mikaelian – 10th November 2018
Krzysztof Glowacki vs. Maksim Vlasov – 10th November 2018

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WBSS: Inoue and Relikh Progress To Semi-Finals; Kenshiro Stops Melindo In 7


By: Ste Rowen

Naoya Inoue scored a sensational 1st round knockout of former world champion, Juan Carlos Payano, sending him into the WBSS semi-finals and solidifying his status as the bantamweight tournament favourite.

70 seconds into the fight Inoue, in search of his 7th straight stoppage victory, landed a jab, dropping Payano’s guard and firing off a punch-perfect right hand to send the Dominican to the canvas and bringing the main event proceedings to an early end.

Before tonight Payano was 20-1 (9KOs) having lost just once in a decision defeat to Rau’shee Warren, tonight in Yokohama the southpaw was almost lulled into a false sense of security in the first 60 seconds, until ‘The Monster’ executed his game plan to perfection.
The victory means that Inoue will face either IBF champion, Emmanuel Rodriquez or Jason Moloney, which takes place on the 20th October, in the next round of the World Boxing Super Series.

Speaking post-fight, Naoya was in jubilant mood,
‘‘It’s an amazing feeling.’’
‘‘I am very happy I continue to fight like this, but this is just the 1st round, I will have a 2nd round so I will show the best fight next time too…I would love to fight against (Emmanuel) Rodriguez because he is the best fight for me.’’

Also, on the Yokohama card…

Kiryl Relikh, now 23-2 (19KOs), sealed his place in the super-lightweight WBSS semi-finals and defended his WBA title for the first time, after scoring a unanimous 12-round decision victory over Eduard Troyanovsky. All three judge’s scorecards returned as, 115-113.

The matchup was completely overshadowed by the Kenshiro and Inoue fights that followed it but, the WBA super-lightweight champion will just be happy to have come through a tough test. Relikh will now fight the winner of Regis Prograis vs. Terry Flanagan, which takes place in New Orleans on the 27th October.

With the WBC light-flyweight belt on the line, Teraji Kenshiro made his fourth consecutive defence as the ‘Smiling Assassin’ scored an impressive 7th round TKO over former world champion, Milan ‘Method Man’ Melindo.

The early rounds, of the scheduled 12, lacked sustained action, despite Melindo landing a single overhand right in the 2nd round, Kenshiro was boxing well enough to win the rounds and keep his Filipino opponent at bay. Milan began to pick up the pace from round 4, which in turn, brought the best out of the WBC champion. A battle of the jabs ensued, and both men attempted to fire off combinations more freely.

By round 6 it was clear the pace of the fight was getting to Melindo as the Japanese star’s shots seemed heavier and were having much more of a lasting effect on ‘The Method Man’. Then in the 7th, having already sustained a cut to his left eye, the referee called the ring doctor to check over the Filipino, seconds later the bout was waved off and Kenshiro moved to 14-0 (8KOs).

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WBSS Preview: Inoue vs. Payano & Relikh vs. Troyanovsky


By: Ste Rowen

One week on from the end of the super middleweight World Boxing Super Series final and season one of the game-changing tournament, we get to do it all over again as season three, which this time includes three weight classes (Bantamweight, Super-Lightweight & Cruiserweight), gets underway in Yokohama’s 17-000 capacity arena. Sunday’s event in Japan will signal the beginning of both the bantam and super-lightweight tournaments.

Headlining the card is WBA ‘Regular’ champion, Naoya ‘The Monster’ Inoue vs. former WBA ‘Super’ holder, Juan Carlos Payano. Already a two-weight world champion and 16-0 (14KOs), Inoue has had a sharp rise in the ranks since turning professional at the end of 2012.


Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account

Fans last saw the Japanese phenomenon in May when he destroyed seasoned pro, Jamie McDonell inside one round in what was Naoya’s first fight since moving up from super-flyweight, to add the WBA ‘Regular’ to his ever-growing trophy cabinet.

Speaking at Friday’s press conference, Inoue gave nothing away,

‘‘I believe in my own strengths. I have had a good camp and I’m in great shape…I am looking forward to fighting in front of my own fans…I have great respect for Payano. He has good technique…He is a two-time Olympian, so he is very experienced.’’

Juan Carlos Payano, 20-1 (9KOs) is no stranger to world title bouts. The Dominican southpaw briefly held the WBA ‘Super’ belt, currently owned by Ryan Burnett, before losing a rematch via majority decision to Rau’shee Warren. Since that 2016 loss Juan Carlos has scored three consecutive victors including a unanimous decision over unbeaten Filipino, Mike Plania.

‘‘I have the utmost respect for Inoue, he is a warrior like myself which makes this fight one of the most interesting bantamweight fights of this year. Expect the best from me on Sunday.’’

The other 118lb WBSS fellow quarter final matchups are as follows;
Ryan Burnett (WBA ‘Super’ Champion) vs. Nonito Donaire – 3rd November 2018
Zolani Tete (WBO Champion) vs. Mikhail Aloyan – 13th October 2018
Emmanuel Rodriguez (IBF Champion) vs. Jason Moloney – 20th October 2018

Firing the starting gun for the super-lightweight WBSS sees WBA champion, Kiryl Relikh step into the ring with former IBF titlist, Eduard Troyanovsky. Relikh, 22-2 (19KOs) stepped into the mainstream light when he lost two straight competitive, and some would say controversial, decisions to Ricky Burns and Rances Barthelmy, respectively. But, the Belarussian made up for one of those losses when, in March this year, he flipped the first fight with Barthelmy on its head and earnt a 12-round unanimous decision to not only hand his opponent his first loss but also pick up the WBA strap for good measure. At the pre-fight press conference, Relikh recognised the opportunity awaiting him,


Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account

‘‘The Muhammad Ali trophy is my chance to show the world who I am and what I can do. I am sure that my fight will be great. It is time for me to prove that I am the real champion.’’

Kiryl’s opponent on Sunday is ‘The Eagle’ Eduard Troyanovsky, 27-1 (24KOs) fighting outside of Russia or Germany for the very first time as a professional. Troyanovsky, native to the Siberian region of Omsk, has loss just once in his 28 fights when he was knocked out cold in a shock loss to Julius Indongo, back in 2016.

Eduard waited 8 months before stepping into the ring again and though the wait was long, his return fights were short. July 2016, the Russian viciously KO’d Michele Di Rocco in the 4th round and, four months later, stopped Carlos Manuel Portillo in the 1st, with the same thunderous right hook which he dispatched Di Rocco with. ‘The Eagle’ expects his power to be on show again this weekend,
‘‘We are two fighters who can punch so it is going to be a really good fight. People can look forward to a fight that will probably not go all the rounds.’’

The rest of the super-lightweight quarter-finals are;
Regis Prograis vs. Terry Flanagan
Josh Taylor vs. Ryan Martin
Ivan Baranchyk vs. Anthony Yigit
‘Vacant IBF World Championship’

Adding to an already intriguing card, WBC light-flyweight champ, Ken Shiro fights Milan ‘Method Man’ Melindo. Shiro, of Japan, known as the ‘Smiling Assassin has so far notched up a record of 13-0 (7KOs) and won his WBC strap in just his 10th bout when he got a close decision over Ganigan Lopez, an opponent he stopped within two rounds earlier this year. Speaking to the ‘Japan Times’, perhaps the cheeriest world champion in boxing was optimistic of stretching his run to 4 defences,

‘‘I’ve already taken on world champions and built confidence in myself, so I would like to prove that I’m the strongest in the light-flyweight class.’’

His opponent on Sunday is 37-3 (13KOs) and former IBF titlist, Milan Melindo who’s hoping to quickly return to winning ways after losing a unanimous decision to Shiro’s fellow Japanese champion, Ryoichi Taguchi (who has since lost his IBF & WBA belts to Hekkie Budler). Speaking at a press conference in the Philippines last week, ‘The Method Man’ sounded more than happy to return to Japan,

‘‘I won a world title before in Japan, I can do it again. Plus, I love Japan. I like the fans and I love Japanese food.’’

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WBSS: Groves vs. Smith Final Press Conference Quotes


By: Ste Rowen

Friday sees the super middleweight version of the World Boxing Super Series reach its crescendo as, George Groves takes on Callum Smith for the WBA ‘Super’, WBC ‘Diamond’ and Ring Magazine belts, as well as the crowning jewel of the tournament, the Muhammad Ali Trophy.

On Wednesday afternoon, the two fighters went face to face for the penultimate time, at the final press conference in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The WBA champion, Groves, was first up to speak,


Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account

‘‘We had a great camp in the end. It took a long time to get back to full fitness, but everything has gone as good as it possibly could…Arriving here (Saudi Arabia), it’s not as bad as you’re told back home…After such a long training camp, such a long time I can’t wait to fight. I can’t wait to collect some new belts and the Ali Trophy.’’

On this being the ‘pinnacle’ of his career,

‘‘I’ve been in some really big fights as a professional, numerous world title fights. Recently became the WBA champion, recently became ranked #1 in the division and what’s up for grabs this time round for me is the Ring Magazine belt and obviously the Ali trophy as well.’’

‘‘It’s gonna become a very prestigious tournament not only to win, but to be associated with. I’ll make sure that I win it and win it well.’’

Smith, 24-0 (17KOs), was in confident mood,

‘‘Every fighter starts boxing to become a world champion and I was no different. I turned professional and I believed my abilities were good enough to take me to the very top and Friday night I get a chance to be there.

A win over George puts me as the best super middleweight in the world, a world champion and Ring Magazine champion. It ticks a lot of boxes for me. There’s a lot at stake but that’s why I turned professional, for fights like these.’’

And his game plan to take home the heavy haul of titles on offer?
‘‘We’ll have to wait and see. I believe it’ll take a big performance. World championships don’t come easy, you don’t give it away. People have to earn them, and I understand that, and I’ve had a very good camp, pushed my body to the limits. Tactically I feel we worked well with Joe and stuff’s come off in sparring that we’ll feel the benefit of on the night.’’

Shane McGuigan, who also trains Josh Taylor and Luke Campbell was complimentary of his fighter’s opponent,

‘‘You’ve got a guy who’s 6ft or 5’11, and then you’ve got another guy who’s 6’3 and completely different styles, but that all backdates the whole way through training camp what we’re working on and we’ve sparred a lot of big tall guys. A lot of guys that are good at catching and counters on the inside, work the body well. All these things that Callum does very well, and I believe he’s a much better fighter than Chris Eubank Jr and George will have to be better on the night.’’

‘‘George has got the experience and I think the experience is gonna tell in this fight.’’

Callum’s coach, and 2015 Ring trainer of the year, Joe Gallagher was just as complimentary as Shane McGuigan when talking about the opposite corner,

‘‘The whole nation in the UK was really pleased for him when he became world champion, but this is now Callum Smith’s opportunity, his chance to shine. One he has to take with both hands. George has power in both hands, hits well, head and body, as does Callum Smith. Shane is on a good run of form at the moment with his stable, he had a great win last weekend with Luke Campbell…They’ll come bouncing into this fight…I feel a bit like Dillian Whyte here by saying, ‘Let’s Go Champ!’ You have that type of mentality.’’

‘‘We are fighting the ranked #1 fighter in the world so, when we beat George Groves we are beating the #1 without a question of a doubt…We’re not considered the 3rd or the 4th best but, we’re considered the number 1 best.’’

Friday’s final will be Groves’ 7th world title fight, losing three of those bouts. If you discount the WBC Diamond belt – which you should – it will be Smith’s first ever shot at world honours.

The main event ring walks are expected to take place at 9pm UK time/4pm Eastern.

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World Boxing Super Series Featuring Glowacki and Briedis Headed to Chicago


By: Jake Donovan

The sixth and final leg of the World Boxing Super Series Season Two quarterfinals is now officially set.

A cruiserweight doubleheader will occupy the November 10 slot, which will take place at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois. Former cruiserweight titlists Krzysztof Glowacki and Mairis Briedis will appear in separate bouts, both undoubtedly eager to scout the other as there stands the likelihood of facing off further down the line in the WBSS Cruiserweight tourney.


Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account

The billed main event pits Briedis—a semifinalist in WBSS Season One— verus Noel Mikaelian, whose own dreams of entering the inaugural WBSS Cruiserweight tournament were thwarted in a preceding loss to eventual entrant Krzysztof Wlodarczyk. The co-main event—and more favorable local attraction, given the city’s thriving Polish community and its proven track record of supporting boxing in the area—pits Season One alternate Glowacki versus Russia’s Maksim Vlasov.

Briedis entered the first WBSS tournament as an undefeated titlist, advancing to the semifinal round before dropping a competitive decision to eventual tournament winner Oleksandr Usyk this past January in his homeland of Riga, Latvia. He returned to the win column on the undercard of Usyk’s tournament win in July, taking a 10 round decision over Brandon Deslarurier.

The forthcoming clash versus Mikaelian (23-1, 10KOs) will mark just his second pro bout in the United States. This occasion comes with far more notoriety than a club fight in North Carolina in his 9th pro bout—but in his mind, just as hungry and with a lot to prove.

“I am really looking forward to fighting in Chicago,” said Briedis (24-1, 18 KOs), who beat Marco Huck in March ’17 to begin a cruiserweight title reign which lasted just 10 months. “I am happy to be back in the World Boxing Super Series, and I am looking forward to fighting in front of a U.S. crowd.

“I am sure there will also be a lot of Latvians in the arena to help create a fantastic atmosphere.”

There will also be an opponent with a lot to prove after just missing out on the parade last time around.

Mikaelian (better known as Noel Gevor) came up just short in a title eliminator versus former champ Wlodarczyk last May, the split decision loss costing him a place in the cruiserweight tournament. The 28-year old contender from Germany has fought just once since then, a shutout win over Isiah Thomas last September.

Neither his aforementioned loss or a year-long inactive period has the boxer the least bit concerned about what is undoubtedly the stiffest test of his seven-year career.

“There are only world class fighters in this tournament, but I believe my ring IQ will give me the edge to win it,” Mikaelian insists.

The main event participants are hardly the only boxers on the bill looking to send a message.

With 13 years in the game, Vlasov (42-2, 25KOs) comes in as the most experienced among the eight-man cruiserweight field. He also has the last to show for it, coming up short during his years as a super middleweight in respective losses to Isaac Chilemba and Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez, the latter whom serves as an unbeaten super middleweight titlist.

The latter setback came in Jan. ’15, having since moved up to the cruiserweight division where he has won his last 12 starts. The most notable have come in separate knockout wins over revered punchers Rakhim Chakhkiev (Dec. ’16) and most recently Olanrewaju Durodola this past February in Russia.

In Glowacki (30-1, 19KOs), Vlasov faces his most dangerous challenge to date—even more so with his opponent eager to return to the top of the cruiserweight mountain.

The 32-year old southpaw from Poland grabbed headlines with his off-the-canvas knockout win over Marco Huck to become cruiserweight champion in their Aug. ’15 Fight of the Year-level war in New Jersey. His rabid Polish supporters in attendance cheered him through a 6th round knockdown, with Glowacki peeling himself off the canvas to later drop and eventually stop Huck, thus ending his record-tying cruiserweight title reign in the process.

Just one successful defense came of his reign, a 12-round points win over former two-time titlist Steve Cunningham in April ’16. His days as a titlist came to an end in a decision defeat to Usyk in their Sept. ’16 clash in Poland, having since won four straight.

Fittingly, his bout with Vlasov comes on the same night that Usyk will defend his undisputed World cruiserweight championship, several time zones away and earlier in the day versus Tony Bellew in London.

It only adds fuel to his fire.

“The plan is simple: take it all, give nothing back,” Glowacki promises. “I have been waiting for a long time for my chance, and I am full of power and great energy.

“I am going to win this tournament and become world champion again!”

Season Two of the World Boxing Super Series showcases three weight classes—bantamweight, super lightweight and cruiserweight—with the quarterfinals round featuring doubleheaders every weekend from October 7 through November 10.

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Groves and Smith Ready to Close Inaugural Ali Trophy Season in Style


By: Michael Kane

George Groves and Callum Smith spoke to the media ahead of their World Boxing Super Series final bout.

The Ali Trophy is up for grabs to end the inaugural middleweight season, delayed by a few months due to Groves suffering a shoulder injury.


Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account

The bout between the two Englishman takes place in an unusual location, the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Groves is the current WBA Super World Champion, while Smith is the WBC Diamond title holder, the Ring magazine title will also be up for grabs.

Here is what the fighters had to say at the press conference:

George Groves:

“It’s great to finally be only a day or two away from the fight. We’ve had a great camp in the end. It took a long time to get back to full fitness, but we’re there now, and everything has gone as good as it possibly could. After such a long training camp and a long time since my last win, I can’t wait to fight and to collect some new belts and the Ali Trophy.

“I have been involved in some real big fights as a professional. I recently became WBA Super Champion and ranked number one in the division. Up for grabs for me this time around is the Ring Magazine belt, the WBC Diamond Championship and obviously the Ali Trophy as well.

“The tournament is only in year one, but everyone is extremely excited about it. It is a very prestigious thing to be associated with it, and I’m going to make sure I win it and win it well to stake my claim as the number one in the division.”

Callum Smith:

“It is a massive opportunity for me. Every fighter who starts boxing dreams of becoming a World Champion and I was no different. I turned professional and I believed my abilities were good enough to tell me to the very top and Friday night I get a chance to be there.

“A win over George puts me as the best super middleweight in the world, and a World Champion and a Ring Magazine Champion. It ticks a lot of boxes for me this fight, there is a lot at stake and that’s why I turned professional, for fights like these. I’ excited. I’m in a good place. I feel good, I feel strong. I’m ready to do what I came here to do and that’s become a World Champion.”

Shane McGuigan (Groves coach):

“It’s very different (from Eubank Jr. fight). You’ve got a guy who’s 6 foot or 5’11 and another guy whose 6’3’’. Completely different styles and that has been reflected in our training camp.

“I believe Callum is a much better fighter than Eubank Jr. and George will have to be better on the night, but I’m very confident that we are going to come away with the win. George has got the experience and I think the experience is going to tell in this fight. Calum has been in this position for a very long time. He has waited for this opportunity so we are expecting the very best Callum Smith.”

Joe Gallagher (Smith coach):

“There’s not much really to be said here. You’ve got the number one and number two seed of the tournament meeting in the final. Everyone is well aware of George Groves. His attempts at World titles and becoming World Champion, for which I think the whole nation in the UK was really pleased for him.

“This is now Callum Smith’s opportunity. His chance to shine, and he’s now got to go take this opportunity with both hands. We’re excited and ready to go, and ready to take care of business on Friday night.”

Wilfried Sauerland (Hall of Fame Promoter):

“For us it is a big day on Friday when we come to the final of the first round of the World Boxing Super Series. We’ve had one final already in Moscow and on Friday it will be the final everybody has been looking forward to in the super middleweight division, one of the strongest divisions in boxing.

“On Friday, we have the two best super middleweights in he world fighting on Friday for this most prestigious trophy and I myself can’t wait to see this fight. That means something when, like me, you have seen thousands of fights. It will be a very special occasion.”

Fans in the UK can watch Groves vs Smith LIVE on ITV Box Office. Ringwalks for the final will be at 9.00 pm UK time. Registration is open at itvboxoffice.com.

Fans in the U.S. can watch LIVE on DAZN, the global sports streaming platform. To sign up for a one-month free trial, fans can visit DAZN.com or download the DAZN app to their preferred connected device.

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WBSS Final Preview: George Groves vs. Callum Smith


By: Ste Rowen

This Friday night the super-middleweight World Boxing Super Series champion will be crowned as, ‘Saint’ George Groves goes up against Callum ‘Mundo’ Smith for the WBA ‘Super’ strap, the Muhammad Ali Trophy and, for only the 3rd time in 168lb history, the Ring Magazine title.

Groves 28-3 (20KOs), will finish the tournament as he started it, against English opposition. In the quarter finals, the Hammersmith native folded an unbeaten Jamie Cox in half with a brutal body shot in the 4th round. His next opponent was of course, the smooth talking, high-volume punching, Chris Eubank Jr.


Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account

Groves proved a level above that night as well, inside Manchester Arena, accelerating ahead on the score cards, making a highly touted Eubank, look very basic. Despite George dislocating his shoulder in the championship rounds, he continued to land heavy shots and move well enough to avoid a late onslaught from Jr.

The 30-year-old took a unanimous decision and, speaking in the Super Series’ pre-fight documentary, is now ready to defend his WBA ‘Super’ belt for a third time and claim his place in boxing history as the first super middleweight WBSS champion,

‘‘This will be the pinnacle of my career.’’
‘‘We’re supremely confident about this fight. I’ve had my eye on Callum Smith for years now. He was the favourite before the tournament started so there are a lot of people believe in his abilities to a certain degree. I’m looking forward to proving those people wrong.’’

As mentioned earlier, Groves dislocated his shoulder in the final stages of his action-packed semi-final victory back in February and had to have surgery to properly repair and recover, which pushed the original July date, for the final, back to late September. But the ‘Saint’ promised that he’s back and better than ever now,

‘‘It’s taken an awful lot of work to get it back, far more than I anticipated…We’re doing shoulder specific work but now we’re at the point where there’s nothing we can’t do which is the most important thing.’’
‘‘I am boxing better than ever, and I don’t see Callum posing a threat. I expect another comfortable win.’’

Smith, 24-0 (17KOs) has arguably had a trickier route to the final. He drew the unbeaten Swede, Erik Skoglund, 26-0 at the time, for his Echo Arena quarter final. It was unquestionably ‘Mundo’s’ biggest test to date as Skoglund was unafraid take Smith’s attack and land his own.

It proved costly as in the 11th round, Callum landed a fantastic counter-right hand which wobbled Erik and setup four consecutive punches without reply, forcing the Swede to take a knee. The only blot on that night was the wide scorecards that favoured Smith but didn’t do justice to his opponent’s performance.

It was then onto what was originally a final-four date with Juergen Braehmer but, in fight-week, the German veteran pulled out due to illness. In came the slightly left field injury reserve, former kick boxing world champion and 13-0 (10KOs), Nieky Holzken. The Dutchman, like Skoglund, wasn’t afraid of marching forward, unfortunately it was quite clear early on that Callum wasn’t too concerned with the power Nieky had on offer.

But, yet again Smith was taken the full 12 rounds, this time however, the dominant scorecards in favour of ‘Mundo’, matched the fight in the ring. The youngest of the Smith boxing family clearly recognises the magnitude of Friday’s event,

‘‘Every fight I’ve had so far has been leading to this.’’
‘‘I’ve always felt that when I’ve been up against it and needed to perform, I’ve always delivered and there’s no bigger time to deliver than in the World Boxing Super Series final against George Groves. I know Groves very well, I’ve watched him for a very long time.’’
‘‘He’s (Groves) got good strength, got a good jab, he’s heavy handed. Defensively, I don’t feel he’s the best, and there’s little, slight things I’ve seen over the years I feel I could take advantage of.’’
‘‘I just feel I’m a better fighter than anyone he’s fought in this tournament…I am looking forward to becoming a world champion.’’

Originally intended to be the venue for the cruiserweight final between Usyk and Gassiev, the 10,000-seat capacity arena within the King Abdullah Sports City, Jeddah will host the all British super-middleweight bout. It’s first ever boxing event at the ‘Shining Jewel’ complex.

The winner on Friday will join Joe Calzaghe and Andre Ward as the only men to claim the super middleweight Ring belt. Boxing this September has very much been the definition of ‘legacy fight’ month.

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