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Naoya Inoue kicks off season two of World Boxing Super Series

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The next season of the World Boxing Super Series tournaments will begin with one of the most electrifying talents in the sport.

Jamie McDonnell v Naoya Inoue - WBA Bantamweight Title Bout Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images

The World Boxing Super Series is set to wrap up its first season on September 28th, when England’s George Groves and Callum Smith compete in the super-middleweight tournament final in the extremely English city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. From there, we dive right into season two, which features three tournaments instead of two, and in a significant tweak from last year, the six quarterfinal cards will have doubleheaders.

Action begins on Sunday, October 7th — yes, one day after UFC 229 — in Yokohama, Japan, as Naoya Inoue headlines against former WBA bantamweight champion Juan Carlos Payano. Inoue is widely considered one of the most violent and best pound-for-pound boxers in the world, and is the favorite to win this tournament and become a unified champion. The other quarterfinal sees Kiryl Relikh put his WBA super-lightweight (140 lbs) against former IBF champ Eduard Troyanovsky.

Fights for the ensuing five weeks of quarterfinal action haven’t been formally announced, but it’s all but confirmed that Zolani Tete will take on Mikhail Aloyan on October 13th in Russia, in what will be a WBO bantamweight title defense for Tete. Floyd Mayweather-promoted Andrew Tabiti will also travel to enemy territory against Ruslan Fayfer in the cruiserweight division, which is getting another go-around after Oleksandr Usyk became undisputed champion in season one. It is quite likely that Usyk will move up to heavyweight in 2019 and vacate all of his belts. Mairis Briedis and Yunier Dorticos are the two men from the first tournament who’ll participate in the next one.

One of the US-based quarterfinals for season two would be on October 27th in Louisiana, where undefeated rising star Regis Prograis is set to battle England’s Terry Flanagan.

All season two WBSS matchups will be streamed live on DAZN in the United States, so there’s no fretting over where to watch these fights like last time. The plan is for six quarterfinal cards, six semifinals, and three finals, with everything scheduled to wrap up by summer 2019.

The dates and matchups are as follows:

Quarterfinal Dates

October 7th – Yokohama, Japan

Naoya Inoue (Japan) vs. Juan Carlos Payano (Dominican Republic) - Bantamweights

Kiryl Relikh (Belarus) vs. Eduard Troyanovsky (Russia) - Super-lightweights

October 13th - Ekaterinburg, Russia

Zolani Tete (South Africa) vs. Mikhail Aloyan (Russia) - Bantamweights

Ruslan Fayfer (Russia) vs. Andrew Tabiti (United States) - Cruiserweights

October 20th - TBD

October 27th - New Orleans, Louisiana

Regis Prograis (USA) vs. Terry Flanagan (United Kingdom) - Super-lightweights

November 3rd - TBD

November 10th - TBD


Bantamweight (118 lbs):

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

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

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

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

Super-lightweight (140 lbs):

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

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

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

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

Cruiserweight (200 lbs):

#1 Mairis Briedis (24-1, 18 KOs - Latvia) vs. Noel Mikaelian (23-1, 10 KOs - Germany)

#3 Krzysztof Glowacki (30-1, 19 KOs - Poland) vs. Maksim Vlasov (42-2, 25 KOs - Russia)

#2 Yunier Dorticos (22-1, 21 KOs - Cuba) vs. Mateusz Masternak (41-4, 28 KOs - Poland)

#4 Ruslan Fayfer (23-0, 16 KOs - Russia) vs. Andrew Tabiti (16-0, 13 KOs - United States)