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World Boxing Super Series quarterfinal bouts set for super-lightweight, bantamweight divisions

Ryan Burnett vs. Nonito Donaire and Regis Prograis vs. Terry Flanagan are among the fight announcements revealed for season two of the World Boxing Super Series.


The official tournament draw for season two of the World Boxing Super Series took place in Russia on Friday, as quarterfinal matchups were revealed for the super-lightweight (140 lbs) and bantamweight (118 lbs) divisions. A third tournament will be announced next week, with that division’s draw to be held at a later date.

We start off in the bantamweight division, which is the deeper of the two fields as it features three of the four major titleholders, and six of the top eight fighters in BoxRec’s rankings.

#1 Ryan Burnett (19-0, 9 KOs) vs. Nonito Donaire (38-5, 24 KOs) - For Burnett’s WBA title

#2 Naoya Inoue (16-0, 14 KOs) vs. Juan Carlos Payano (20-1, 9 KOs)

#3 Zolani Tete (27-3, 21 KOs) vs. Mikhail Aloyan (4-0, 0 KOs) - For Tete’s WBO title

#4 Emmanuel Rodriguez (18-0, 12 KOs) vs. Jason Moloney (17-0, 14 KOs) - For Rodriguez’s IBF title

Only Rodriguez vs. Maloney was predetermined before the draw, as Moloney is Rodriguez’s IBF mandatory challenger. Burnett and Inoue got to choose their opponents as the top two seeds in the field. If you’re wondering why Russia’s Aloyan is in the field with just a 4-0 record, he’s a 2012 Olympic bronze medalist and a 2016 Olympic silver medalist, although he was stripped of the latter after failing his drug test. He’s also a two-time gold medalist in the World Amateur Boxing Championships.

The early favorite of the bantamweight field is “The Monster” Inoue, who has already racked up world titles in two other weight divisions.

Rodriguez won the IBF title last year by easily defeating Paul Butler, while WBO champ Tete is best known for his record-setting title defense KO from November. Burnett is the reigning WBA titleholder and he has chosen the great Donaire, who’s best days seem to be behind him, but the four-division world champ is moving back down to bantamweight in hopes of turning back the clock and making a run in this field.

As for the super-lightweights, these are the matchups:

#1 Regis Prograis (22-0, 19 KOs) vs. Terry Flanagan (33-1, 13 KOs)

#2 Josh Taylor (13-0, 11 KOs) vs. Ryan Martin (22-0, 12 KOs)

#3 Kiryl Relikh (22-2, 19 KOs) vs. Eduard Troyanovsky (27-1, 24 KOs) - For Relikh’s WBA title

#4 Ivan Baranchyk (18-0, 11 KOs) vs. Anthony Yigit (21-0-1, 7 KOs) - For vacant IBF title

Relikh vs. Troyanovsky and Baranchyk vs. Yigit were agreed upon prior to the draw, leaving Prograis as the only fighter who got to choose his foe. Prograis had the option of facing fellow American Ryan Martin or England’s Terry Flanagan, and went with Flanagan, who is coming off a decision loss to Maurice Hooker for the WBO title.

Prograis and Taylor are the two favorites, as the division sorts itself out in the wake of Terence Crawford’s departure to welterweight, which saw him relinquish all four major titles. Taylor dug deep to beat former world champ Viktor Postol just a few weeks ago, while Prograis dominated Juan Jose Velasco in a tune-up fight before entering the WBSS.

Relikh is taking on ex-IBF champ Troyanovsky, who has won his last two after suffering a stunning upset KO loss to Julius Indongo (whom Prograis demolished earlier this year). Lastly, Belarus’ Baranchyk and Sweden’s Yigit are contending for the vacant IBF crown.

The guarantee from both weight classes is we’ll have unified champions and a bunch of undefeated records going away.


All WBSS matches will be streamed live on DAZN US, and based on the plan of 15 Fight Nights, that means the tournament schedule is as follows:

—Six events featuring quarterfinal doubleheaders in each weight class. (September-October 2018)

—Six events for each semifinal across the three tournaments. (Early 2019)

—Three events, one for each tournament final. (Summer 2019)

This is a change from season one, which saw every tournament bout gets its own event. Now we know that all of the quarterfinal fights are scheduled to be paired up.

As for season one’s pair of finals, the cruiserweight championship between Oleksandr Usyk and Murat Gassiev will take place Saturday in Moscow, while super-middleweights Callum Smith and George Groves are due to compete on a date and venue TBD after a Groves injury postponed that contest.

Bloody Elbow will have live coverage throughout season two of the WBSS. You can also check out our colleagues at Bad Left Hook.

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