Taylor and Inoue Look to Advance
By: Oliver McManus
Naoya Inoue strolls into Glasgow at the weekend looking to steam-roll past yet another opponent in yet another world title fight. The WBA’s bantamweight world champion shouldn’t be pigeonholed by way of his slim anime-esque figure with the 26 year old possessing nonchalant fight-ending aggression. Punches thrown from the most innocuous of circumstances have his opponents fearing their safety from every angle, shuffle and punch.
That ability to finish bouts with split-second precision has been meticulously showcased throughout his career with just one of his twelve world title fights going the distance. Perhaps the best characterisation of his effortless brilliance came against Jamie McDonnell last year. McDonnell was granted the daunting task of defending the WBA title against Inoue, in the Japanese fighters first fight in the division, and was caught almost immediately by a mini-flurry of punches that dropped him to the canvas. McDonnell managed to find his senses but was shown no mercy and several shellacking shots to the body finished off the contest for good.
Saturday night at the SSE Hydro will see Inoue look to unify world titles for the first time in his career by taking on, IBF champion, Emmanuel Rodriguez. On paper this should be the toughest test since turning professional (in 2012) with his pathway to bantamweight supremacy barely causing Inoue to break a sweat. Eternal legacy is already secured in his homenation but this next stage of his career is about capitalizing on the Western markets – trying to break the UK and the United States. Inoue has already fought on HBO as part of their ‘Super Fly’ series of events, as well as ESPN+ and now Sky Sports, so he’s principally well endeared with the boxing fraternity: all that’s left now is to turn that frightening reputation into global stardom.
His opponent, meanwhile, will look to become the first Puerto Rican champion to unify belts since Miguel Cotto (unless you count Danny Garcia and his heritage) and move a step closer to a homecoming world title fight in the, not too distant, future. The 26 year old’s background is chequered having been held in high regard within his national amateur system but only garnering international success at a ‘youth’ level. In 2010 he received second-degree burns across a majority of his body whilst attempting to set alight a pickup truck and was on the sidelines for ten months.
Since turning professional in 2012, having failed to qualify for the Olympics, Rodriguez set about a fairly unassuming career picking up regional titles from the big governing bodies. Indeed, he was proving to be quite a threat within the South American circuit with knockout after knockout against domestic prizefighters – finishes that came as out-of-the-blue as Inoue’s but against a far diminished level of opposition. The big break for Rodriguez came last May when he fought Paul Butler for the vacant IBF title. Butler looked ragged but Rodriguez looked exceptional as he dropped his opponent twice in the first round and didn’t put a foot wrong in the following eleven to record scorecards of 120-106, 120-106, 118-108.
Suddenly, just like that, the Puerto Rican had announced himself as a major player but, actually, in his last contest (against Jason Moloney) he just couldn’t settle into a regular rhythm and his Australian challenger nipped at his heels throughout. What we have seen, however, is a robust and awkward style that means his opponents struggle to find repeated success in a contest. He’ll need that rugged defense to be as tight as taut rope if he’s going to give himself a foothold for success in the later rounds but, with Inoue in the opposite corner, that’s a big IF he gets into those later rounds.
Hometown hero Josh Taylor remains convinced he will be the first man to defeat, IBF champion, Ivan Baranchyk and claim the first world title of his career in doing so. Taylor, the WBC Silver titleholder, has been a prodigious talent ever since he turned professional in 2015 – following Commonwealth glory – and the southpaw now gets his chance to cement himself on the world stage. Despite being one of few, genuine, big names not to have been snaffled up by Frank Warren or Eddie Hearn he is no stranger to the big scene having sold out the SSE three times already in his career.
In his last fight, against Ryan Martin, the 28 year old was able to ease into the semi-final with a comprehensive schooling. Martin looked sheepish on the night, perhaps daunted by the occasion, and Taylor capitalized with a punch-perfect display. Baranchyk, meanwhile, advanced to this stage of the competition with a gruesome stoppage victory over Anthony Yigit: his Swedish opponent was taking considerable punishment and the contest was stopped with Yigit’s eye ballooning up to the size of a snooker ball.
We’ve seen a few rough patches from Taylor since he became professional with him sometimes looking beleaguered but the real learning fight was against Viktor Postol. Postol, criminally written off, refused to wilt in the face of relentless attacks and doubled-down in return with pressure of his own. The Beast from Belarus is reminiscent of, his countryman, Kiryl Relikh in respect of his doggedness and tenacity so is a distinct potential banana skin on Taylor’s record and I expect him to find success. Taylor, you imagine, will have the superior class to keep his head above the choppy waters with the scorecards likely giving him a helping hand.
An “I was there” moment if ever there was one – arguably the scariest fighter on the planet making his UK debut and Scotland’s flag bearer looking to secure the first world title of his career.
WBSS Preview: Taylor vs. Baranchyk, Inoue vs. Rodriguez
By: Michael Kane
The World Boxing Super Series has rolled back into Glasgow this week ahead of arguably the biggest show in the UK so far this year.
The conclusion of the semi-final line up of the super lightweight and bantamweight tournaments takes place at the Hydro Arena in Glasgow.
Prestonpans Josh Taylor (14-0, 12 KOs) will face U.S based Belarussian Ivan Baranchyk (19-0, 12KOs), for the IBF world title which Baranchyk won in the quarter final stage against Anthony Yigit. Taylor progressed to the semi-final after a comprehensive win in Glasgow against American Ryan Martin.
It’s only been a month or so since we knew the fight was definitely set after it seemed Baranchyk wasnt happy with World Boxing Super Series. It does go ahead this Saturday in what will be one of the biggest nights in Scottish boxing history as two world titles fights headline the event.
Taylor has fought several times at the Hydro Arena, from winning Commonwealth Games Gold in 2014 to beating former world champion Viktor Postol last year. With a large expectant home crowd it will be interesting to see how Taylor handles the pressure in his first world title shot and if Baranchyk will handle the red hot atmosphere sure to be created by the Scottish crowd.
The fight could be a close contest and the home support could be crucial to keep Taylor going to the end in a gruelling contest.
🗣️ @JoshTaylorBoxer: "This is the best vs the best!" 🔥
— World Boxing Super Series (@WBSuperSeries) May 17, 2019
The other world title fight will see Puerto Rican, Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-0, 12 KOs) defend his IBF Bantamweight title against Japanese superstar ‘The Monster’ Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15KOs), who will have his WBA regular belt up for grabs.
The press conference on Wednesday would see approximately 80% of the media being made up from Japan showing the popularity of Inoue in his home country.
There has been a bit of animosity between the two camps with a Rodriguez coach pushing Inoue’s father and head coach at the media work out.
This should be the three weight world champion Inoue’s biggest test to date and will be interesting to see how he handles the bigger Rodriguez, who is confident and how Inoue handles fighting away from the home comforts of Japan for the first time.
Rodriguez won his world title when he fought and beat Paul Butler in London last year so has experience of big fights in the UK.
This could be a great fight between two fighters in their prime and a bonus for the Scottish public to see a genuine sporting superstar in Inoue.
World Boxing Super Series will be shown live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the U.S.
— World Boxing Super Series (@WBSuperSeries) May 16, 2019
World Boxing Super Series Semi Finals Results: Prograis Stops Relikh, Donaire Shows Off Power
By: William Holmes
The semi-finals of the World Boxing Super Series was held tonight at the Cajundom in Lafayette, Louisiana. The main event of the evening was between Regis Prograis and Kiryl Relikh in the Super Lightweight Division. The co-main event was between Nonito Donaire and Stephon Young in the Bantamweight Division.
Zolani Tete was originally scheduled to face Donaire, but an injury to his right shoulder forced him to withdraw. Stephen Young stepped in to face Donaire.
The co-main event was between Nonito Donaire (39-5) and Stephen Young (18-1-3) in the semifinals of the WBSS Bantamweight Tournament.
Donaire, the taller fighter, pawed at Young with his jab as he circled towards Donaire right hand. Donaire found a home for his check left hook in the opening round, and did not appear to be bothered by the power of young.
Donaire continued to walk Young down in the second and third rounds, but developed a small mouse under his left eye from some of the shots of Young. Donaire had Young stunned in the third round with a straight right hand.
Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account
Young was backing up for most of the fourth and fifth rounds and had blood coming from his nose from the strong shots of Donaire. Young was able to land some counter punches in the sixth round, but Donaire was landing first most of the time.
The end came in the seventh round when Donaire landed a vicious left hook that sent Young crashing to the mat and unable to continue.
Nonito Donaire wins by knockout at 2:37 of the seventh round.
The main event was between Regis Prograis (23-0) and Kiryl Relikh (23-2) in the semifinals of the WBSS Super Lightweight Tournament..
Prograis, a southpaw, showed good upper body movement in the opening round and forced Relikh to miss most of his combinations. Prograis connected with a hard left to the body that caused Relikh to turn around and get cracked with another shot as he went down.
Relikh was able to get up survive the opening round.
Prograis continued his assault on Relikh and wasn’t phased by his power in the second. Prograis opened up a cut on the bridge of Relikh’s nose during the second, but was stung with a punch by Relikh after the the ringside bell signaled the end of the round.
Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account
Prograis looked recovered by the third round and pummeled Relikh in the third and fourth rounds. Relikh’s attempts at combinations hit nothing but air as Prograis upper body movement made him a very elusive target.
Prograis dominated the fifth round, and when Relikh walked back to his corner he was warned that they may stop the fight if he didn’t show more.
Prograis opened up the sixth round with a straight left followed up with some thudding shots to the body that hard Relikh hurt again. A few more thudding power shots forced Relikh’s corner to follow through with their warnings and stop the fight.
Regis Prograis wins with an impressive TKO at 1:36 of the sixth round.
WBSS2 News: Diaz Quells Fears of Baranchyk Dropout
By: Ste Rowen
Pedro Diaz, famed trainer of IBF super-lightweight champion and World Boxing Super Series semi-finalist Ivan Baranchyk, reassured fans of his fighter’s status in the tournament when he spoke in a press release on Friday,
‘‘The preparations are going really excellent…Baranchyk is a very dedicated athlete and is going through a very good camp with good sparring partners.’’
Despite multiple reports from ESPN of the Belarussian deciding to move on from the tournament over a pay dispute, the WBSS announced a date and location (18th May at the SSE Hydro, Glasgow) for the bout vs. Josh Taylor, which will also be the date and venue for Naoya Inoue’s bantamweight semi vs. another IBF champion, Emmanuel Rodriguez.
Diaz went on to say,
‘‘Some boxers are tired when the weekend comes but not Baranchyk. He is unstoppable. His only focus is his training and his future.
Taylor is a great boxer, he is one of the best in the division and he has a good team around him, but we are very confident, and people will see why he is called The Beast.
We are not going for the KO. We always aim to win all twelve rounds and we know Baranchyk can keep every round a very high pace.’’
The second super-lightweight semi-final between Regis Prograis and Kiryl Relikh is set for 27th April in the US, with the venue to be confirmed. The bantamweight final four bout between Nonito Donaire and Zolani Tete will also be on the April card.
World Boxing Super Series add Inoue v Rodriguez to Glasgow card
By: Michael Kane
The World Boxing Super Series have announced Japanese superstar Naoya Inoue will face Puerto Rican, Emmanuel Rodriguez in Glasgow, Scotland.
The bout will take place on May 18 at the SSE Arena on the same card as local hero Josh Taylor takes on IBF Super Lightweight champion Ivan Baranchyk. Both bouts are semi finals in their respective weight classes.
Inoue (17-0, 15 KOs) opened up this season’s WBSS in spectacular fashion, knocking out Juan Carlos Payano in 70 seconds of the first round in their quarter final tie in Japan.
There was an expectation that Inoue would have another home tie, with WBSS having secured a Japanese TV deal to show his fights so the announcement that he will travel to Scotland has come some what as a surprise. The news has already gone down well with Scottish fans and fans across the rest of the UK, with social media buzzing at the news.
Rodriguez (19-0, 12 KOs) retained his IBF title in a tough quarter final bout against Australian, Jason Moloney, winning by split decision back in October in Orlando, Florida.
In a WBSS press release both fighters gave their initial reaction
“My destiny is to win the prestigious Ali Trophy and prove I am the best bantamweight in the world,” said Inoue. “I cannot wait to box in the United Kingdom in front of their loud fans and I will show them a ‘Monster’ performance!”
“I have been waiting for this moment my entire life,” said Rodriguez. “I always wanted to fight the best, and now I am fighting a boxer considered the best by the boxing reporters and fans. That’s great motivation for me, my team, and Puerto Rico, We got this.
“I am going to get the victory. Puerto Rico will shine in Scotland and I am confident of going all the way and take home the Ali Trophy.”
“This amazing match-up highlights the vision of the World Boxing Super Series,“ said Kalle Sauerland, Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer.
“Two unbeaten World Champions, two sublime athletes, are putting everything on the line for a place in the final of the World Boxing Super Series where the Ali Trophy awaits the winner. It doesn’t get bigger than this.”
The Second Series of the Cruiserweight WBSS Proves Belts Matter
By: Ste Rowen
There we were, now here we are. This time last year Yunier Dorticos had KO’d an unbeaten Kudryashov, Mairis Briedis had bored us through twelve rounds against Mike Perez, Murat Gassiev had cut Wlodarczyk down with a body shot that could be felt through the TV screen and Aleksandr Usyk had dealt with a boisterous Marco Huck.
Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account
Hand on heart right now, could you say for definite whether there had been a knockout in the quarter-finals of the second series of cruiserweights in the World Boxing Super Series? Did you even know the cruiserweights were in the second series?
The problem is belts. As beautiful as it is to see one man draped in every single piece of boxing jewellery, as in the case of Usyk, the lack of belts or obvious rewards in the WBSS cruiserweight fights this year is so evident and is killing the hype.
So far this season big fights have been made and completed. Former WBC titlist and first season Super Series semi-finalist, Mairis Briedis has decisioned Noel Mikaeljan, former WBO champ, Krzysztof Glowacki dominated the Russian, Maksim Vlasov, Andrew ‘The Beast’ Tabiti, for all his talent, bored an Ekaterinburg crowd to a drab 12-round victory over Ruslan Fayfer and in the best of the bouts, Yunier Dorticos of Cuba slugged it out with former European champion, Mateusz Masternak.
The semi-finals are currently, Dorticos vs. Tabiti and Briedis vs. Glowacki, set to take place in early 2019. For the boxing purist, these are two exceptional fights to be made in a division living in the shadow of the Ukrainian supremo that is Usyk, who recently finished his ‘Fighter of the Year’ 2018 with a knockout of hopeful, Tony Bellew; but the 200lb limit division, and the second series of the Super Series is still steeped in talent even without the undisputed champ, and yet without the glitter on show such as, the WBC belt Briedis used to hold, or the WBO that Glowacki was once the champion of, the show is just lacking that key element that fans come out for, or watch on tv to see – The immediate reward. A champion lifting aloft a recognised, and respected title at the end of a fight.
For now, casual fans will overlook the second season of cruiserweights unless they’re on the same card as say, the bantamweight-semi-final of the newly crowned, WBA champion Nonito Donaire vs. WBO titlist, Zolani Tete. Maybe, by the cruiserweight’s final, there will be vacant belts left behind by Usyk moving up to the heavyweight division, but the keyword is ‘vacant’. And maybe it won’t matter that history will show the belts as vacant, but that was the beauty of the first series, and the perfection that lies in the bantamweight version of the Super Series, a feeling of finality. That when the final comes around and is won and lost, the man who lifts the Muhammad Ali Trophy above their head is actually worthy of having their name next to ‘The Greatest’. The current feeling with this season of cruiserweights is that this isn’t the case. Let’s hope for at least a knockdown in the semi-finals.
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.
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.
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.’’
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.
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.
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.
WBSS Results: Tete & Tabiti Win Decision Victories
By: Ste Rowen
It was a night made for the travelling fighters in Ekaterinburg as bantamweight Zolani Tete and cruiserweight, Andrew Tabiti overcame Russian opponents, both in unimpressive decision victories, to progress to their respective WBSS semi-finals.
Zolani Tete, 27-3 (21KOs) heading into tonight, started the fight as we hoped he would, on the front foot looking to impress his power upon Mikhail Aloyan early. The Armenian-born Russian however is no stranger to Tete’s offensive approach thanks to Mikhail’s supreme amateur experience (2 world championship golds and Olympic bronze in 2012).
Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account
With 20 seconds left of the 1st round, the WBO champion landed a long-left hand and followed it with a short right, forcing Aloyan, 4-0 (0KOs), to stumble to the ground and score an early 10-8 for Zolani. The knockdown setup a sprightly round 2, and although Tete seemed to remain on top, there was clearly a competitive fight to be had. At the beginning of round 4, Aloyan sprung a right hand and landed cleanly onto the chin of the champion, waking up the Russian crowd and shaking away any complacency Tete may have had as the fight headed into the middle rounds.
By the 7th it remained competitive but, Zolani’s jab looked as if it was seeing him through the rounds. Even when Aloyan had a brief, bright spot, the WBO champ’s jab looked as if it was regaining the momentum. At times, it threatened to fall under the category of awkward as neither seemed willing or able to engage on the inside, instead, tying each other up. Both southpaws fell to the canvas a few times as a result, and not because of a punch.
Rounds 9 and 10 continued much the same and in the final minute of the 10th the referee looked as if he took a point from the South African for consistently pushing away. Then just before the final bell for the round, the ring doctor was called over to check on a cut sustained above the right eye of Mikhail. He was allowed to continue into the championship rounds but very little changed in terms of the style of fight the Ekaterinburg audience was viewing. With 50 seconds left of round 11, Aloyan was deducted a point for holding.
They made it to the final bell and, politely applauded by an uninfused crowd, the final scorecards came back as 114-111 (x2) and 114-110 all for Tete, and still the WBO champion said post-fight,
‘‘It was a good fight. Aloyan proved he is one of the best, that’s why he went the full 12 rounds with me…The jab is always working for me. My corner is always telling me to use my legs, because my legs are also my defence so that’s what I’ve been trying to do.’’
And who does he hope to fight in the final four of the WBSS,
‘‘I’m wishing Ryan Burnett can win. I’ve always wanted to fight him. I believe he is going to win in his next fight and I will meet him in the semi-final.’’
Tete, as mentioned, now goes on to the semi-final stage to face either, WBA champion, Ryan Burnett or, Nonito Donaire, who fight on the 3rd November in Glasgow.
Andrew Tabiti vs. Ruslan Fayfer
Getting the second season of the cruiserweights underway, the two unbeaten fighters, Andrew ‘The Beast’ Tabiti, 16-0 (13KOs) and Ruslan Fayfer 23-0 (16KOs) both decided on a tentative start. Fayfer took a more offensive, come-forward approach but both boxer’s proved risk-averse through rounds 1-3.
It was clear which of the two trains out of Mayweather’s boxing gym, but Tabiti’s quick hands weren’t matched with volume. A number of times through the middle rounds, ‘The Beast’ landed a power shot, but struggled to follow it up before being tied up by the Russian or even put off by his own caution. By round 7, and by now as ugly as a fight can get, it was clear Ruslan was struggling too figure out his American foe. Pre-fight, the Russian said he was the more experienced of the two, but the lack of quality in his past opponents was telling.
Andrew’s punch-output had slowed right down by the 8th, Fayfer was forcing the pace of the bout but continued to struggle to land anything of significance, despite finishing round 8 on top. A similar pattern followed right through to the final bell. Fayfer rushed in, Tabiti evaded the attack, but neither gave the fans much to enjoy. With 33 seconds of the 12th, Ruslan was deducted a point for continuously leading with the head, it set a fire in the Russian to go all out but Tabiti was savvy enough to see the round out.
A was a fight so awkward, it was anyone’s to win. But it was ‘The Beast’ who took it, 116-111, 115-112, 114-113 all in favour of the Vegas fighter. Tabiti spoke to Barry Jones post-fight,
‘‘I love Russia, I love coming out here fighting, it was a wonderful experience. The guy was awkward, but he came and brought the fight. He seen I had the speed on him, so he wanted to make it awkward and dirty.’’
‘‘My game plan was to last the beginning of the fight and then later on try and kick it up.’’
And who would he prefer to fight in the semi’s,
‘‘I think Dorticos has the more credible name, so I’d like to fight him.’’
Tabiti now progresses to the semi-finals where he will fight either, defeated semi-finalist of last season’s WBSS, Yunier Dorticos or, Mateusz Masternak, who meet next week in Orlando.
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