Johnston Brown

Special Talent Inoue becomes a 3-weight World Champion

Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue (16-0, 14KOs) captured the WBA bantamweight title in empathetic style when he stopped Jamie McDonnell (29-3-1, 13KOs) in the first round.

The 25-year-old became a three-weight world champion in only his sixteenth professional fight in front of an overjoyed home crowd in Tokyo.

McDonnell was in deep and it was always going to take something out of the ordinary to beat such a special talent. The Englishman was confident of causing an upset but after looking clearly weight drained and facing such a formidable fighter the writing was on the wall.

Inoue took his time and waited for an opening before catching McDonnell high on the top of the head with a looping left hook. The former champion staggered briefly but found himself on the floor for the first time after a trademark left hook to the body.

With McDonnell clearly in trouble the ‘Monster’ sensed blood and went in for the kill. With a barrage of punches to the head and body McDonnell fell to the canvas for the second and last time as referee Luis Pabon waved the fight off.

This kid from Kanagawa, Japan picked up his third world title in 16 fights while absolutely destroying a seasoned pro in two-minutes. Maybe if McDonnell wasn’t clearly weight-drained then the fight could have gone further but that would have only delayed the inevitable.

This is not the end for Jamie McDonnell who is still only 32-years-old and has time to assess his options. He struggled badly to make weight so maybe look at the 122lb division for a comeback fight on home soil.


Naoya Inoue will now join the World Boxing Super Series to challenge himself against the best in the division. I’m sure the organisers will seed the four world champions with the likelihood of a mouth watering semi-final.

After this performance I would place Inoue as the favourite but he will be taking on other special talents.

IBF title holder Emmanuel Rodriguez from Puerto Rico recently produced a boxing clinic against Paul Butler. Northern Irishman Ryan Burnett is the WBA ‘super’ champion although he was a unified title holder after defeating Zhanat Zhakiyanov last year. Lastly we have the oldest of the four South African Zolani Tete who has the WBO strap.

I don’t care who fights who I’m just pleased that they will fight each other which is good for the division and good for boxing.

McDonnell v Inoue – Breakdown and Predications

WBA bantamweight champion Jamie McDonnell (29-2-1, 13KOs) defends his title for the seventh time against the hard hitting Naoya Inoue (15-0, 13KOs) in Tokyo, Japan.

McDonnell has been searching for a big name his whole career and they don’t come much bigger than the ‘Monster’. Japan’s superstar may have only fought 15 professional fights but he is already a two-weight world champion and is considered by many boxing experts as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world today.

Inoue is only 25-years-old and is hoping he can dethrone the Doncaster-born champion in his bantamweight debut. If successful the former light-flyweight and super-flyweight world champion will enter the bantamweights World Boxing Super Series that includes Ryan Burnett, Zolani Tete and Emmanuel Rodriguez.

Of course McDonnell will have something to say about that and brings more experience to the table. When the 32-year-old won his world title back in 2013 Inoue had only been in 3 professional bouts but he was crowned the 108lb world champion in his sixth and super-flyweight champ in his eighth pro fight.

Make no bones about it McDonnell is in deep against a very special talent and will have to produce the performance of his life and hope Inoue has an off night if he is to be successful.


The British No.2 has fought 245 rounds in 33 bouts with a knockout ratio of 33% and a combined opponent record of 527-248-29.

This will be the third time the Yorkshire man has faced Japanese opposition after outpointing Tomoki Kameda in back to back victories. He also recorded impressive wins against Mexican Julio Ceja and Thailand’s Tabtimdaeng Na Rachawat.

Jamie has fought in France, America (twice) and Monaco (twice) so he is not afraid to travel but fighting in Japan is a different kettle of fish. Trainer David Coldwell decided to settle in Dubai before travelling to Tokyo so that McDonnell can acclimatize to the weather and time difference gradually.

Having to step into the ring with Inoue is hard enough let alone having the added diversion of settling into a completely different environment altogether.

The Japanese sensation has stopped 13 of his 15 opponents notching up an 83% knockout ratio while accumulating 91 rounds and has a combined opponent record of 355-59-22.

Inoue has recorded excellent wins against Japan’s Ryoichi Taguchi, Mexicans Adrian Hernandez and David Carmona plus Argentinian Omar Andres Narvaez and American Antonio Nieves. Even more impressive was the way Inoue dispatched Frenchman Yoan Boyeaux inside 3-rounds in his last outing.


The world bantamweight No.1 gives away 4-inches in height and reach against the world champion. Inoue has not fought anyone this tall before so his team identified Brummie featherweight Raza Hamza as the perfect sparring partner in preparation for McDonnell.

Even though the Englishman does fight small he will still have a clear height advantage so Inoue will have to make slight adjustments to his aggressive style. That being said the Japanese fighter has power in both hands when throwing those looping shots like we saw in the first round against Boyeaux.

Inoue does not waste his punches and is very patient while he stalks his opponents around the ring, almost Golovkin-like. If he doesn’t take you out with head shots then his brutal body attacks will. No doubt Inoue has power at the 115lb division so the extra 3-pounds will not make any difference in my opinion.

McDonnell will have to stay on the outside using his jab to maintain his distance while throwing punches in bunches when on the inside. Timing and footwork will be the key if he is to be successful. His fitness has never been in question so he will be able to sustain a high level of work rate as he always does in every fight. Inoue is heavy handed but McDonnell has never been stopped which shows a solid chin.

As a British boxing fan I do hope that McDonnell can produce the upset of all upsets and defeat the dangerous Inoue. Unfortunately I can see only one winner and that is Inoue by stoppage. If McDonnell can hear the final bell that would be an achievement in itself.

Not only do I predict Inoue to win on Friday night I also believe this kid will become a unified bantamweight champion and Mohammed Ali trophy winner come 2019. If you didn’t know about this guy then you will do very soon as I’m tipping Naoya Inoue to become one of the biggest stars in world boxing.

I hate heavyweight boxing. It’s full of cowards – Dillian Whyte

A frustrated Dillian Whyte (23-1, 17KOs) pulled no punches when expressing his hatred towards the rest of the heavyweight division.

The South-Londoner has been waiting patiently since his brutal knockout victory against Lucas Browne back in March for an opponent to be announced.

Originally the 28-year-old was hoping the WBC would make him a mandatory challenger to Deontay Wilder. Unfortunately the governing body went back on their word and instead elevated Dominic Breazeale. Since then Whyte has had two more mandatory options, fight Kubrat Pulev for the IBF or Luis Ortiz for the WBC.

With July 28 already pencilled in at the O2 Arena under the big tent he was hoping that Pulev would be his next opponent. Frustrated at the lack communication Whyte said:

“Pulev doesn’t want to fight. He gets in these positions to fight mandatories, or gets in these eliminators and doesn’t want to fight.

“I think he was hoping that, I said I was going to go for (Luis) Ortiz, and then he could fight (Alexander) Dimitrenko, which was the next one down.

“He’s just wasting time, it’s a straightforward fight, the winner gets a crack at the big apple. I’m up for the fight, he says he’s up for the fight. He said I’m the perfect opponent for him. Well for some reason, him and [promoter] Kalle (Sauerland) are taking long.

“I hate heavyweight boxing. It’s full of cowards.”

To be perfectly honest I completely agree with the Brixton Bomber. If the rest of the heavyweight division took a leaf out of his book then we would have more fights with the best fighting the best.

Whyte continued, “Well the purse bid is this Thursday, so regardless either way, we’ll find out in the next couple of days what’s going on, or whether Pulev is man enough to take the fight or not.

“Hopefully we can reach some sort of deal, and get it arranged, and get it done, because the date is already pencilled in, July 28.”

Dillian Whyte is a throw back fighter in terms of his attitude. All he wants to do is fight and boxing politics is something that bewilders the British heavyweight. The ‘Bodysnatcher’ has been jumping from one governing body to another in hope of getting a fair crack at a world title.

“The IBF seem to be quite strict with their mandatories,” said Whyte. “I’m still pursuing the WBC route, but there seems to be some sort of nonsense going on there, so everything is up in the air at the minute.

“I’m just waiting to see what’s going on with the WBC. Hopefully the WBC order me to fight Breazeale in a final eliminator.”

Billy C and Sal ‘Rocky’ Cenicola always praise fighters that want to fight and believe in the old process of challengers fighting challengers to then become the next in line for a world title shot. Well we have a man in Whyte that will fight anyone and is willing to fight Breazeale, Pulev, Ortiz or Povetkin but none of these are as committed to the cause as Whyte.

Anthony Joshua would accept a pay cut to fight Wilder in Britain

WBO, IBO, IBF & WBA world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (21-0, 20KOs) will accept a pay cut to fight Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39KOs) on British soil.

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn told Telegraph Sport that the Londoner would take fighting at home over more money: “AJ’s not really swayed by an extra £10m or £15m. He’d rather do the fight over here in front of his fans.

“AJ will have to take a pay cut to fight in the UK and I don’t think he’s that bothered. The offer that they made, if that was open to a UK fight, we would have signed immediately. But obviously, they want to pay the money to get AJ to Wilder’s back yard. At the moment we’re all still talking and communication continues. But there is a feeling from our camp this undisputed fight should be in the UK.

“Rob who is trainer, manager and an ex-fighter, knows the advantage of being at home. AJ genuinely loves fighting in the UK. He knows there has never been an undisputed fight before, he was the first unification fight in Britain in the heavyweight division. So to do an undisputed heavyweight unification fight in the UK, would be historic. But whether Wilder’s team feel the same, like I said, those talks are ongoing. But that’s the general feeling from AJ and Rob.

The WBC heavyweight champion made an public offer on social media of $50m (£37m) to fight AJ a few weeks back. What team Wilder failed to mention was that the offer included Joshua having to fight in the US.

Joshua played down the rumours of him accepting to fight Wilder in the US on Sunday saying: “So with this Las Vegas talk, I owe it to everyone in Great Britain that has been supporting me to do my best to get this fight in the U.K., in my opinion, that’s number one.

Eddie Hearn echoed that statement today:

One thing is for absolute certain, AJ wants Wilder next. He’s made that clear. He also feels though, after talking to Rob McCracken, his trainer and manager, that this is a fight that should be delivered in the UK. One for the fans and two, he feels like he’s earned that right.

“A lot of it depends on Wilder’s attitude towards it all. Certainly we don’t have a problem if Wilder was to win the fight, doing a second one in America. He would have earned that right.

“Wilder has boxed in Sheffield before. He agreed to box in Russia for $4m (£2.9m). When we sat down it seemed a little bit weird to be traveling over to the US for a fight of this magnitude with so much on the line.

“As a fighter, AJ doesn’t care where the fight is. He doesn’t know enough about the game. But Rob was like, ‘Why go to America?’ There’s a difference in going when the money is not life-changing.

“Yes, fighting in the UK is an advantage. But AJ genuinely is thinking more of the fans in his decision. How many would we be able to get in America? Maybe 6,000 to 10,000 fans. AJ said: ‘Is that it?’ When you’re dealing with 90,000 and he could bring an undisputed championship fight to Britain, AJ is genuinely interested in that stuff. The old saying about how you have to go to America to make it big, I don’t see that anymore. That’s not in AJ’s mind.

I think Rob’s feeling is as an ex-fighter you should fight for these belts on your turf. There’s an interview AJ did after his last fight that has been played back a few times and he basically says, for years and years British fighters have had to go to America for the big fights.”

The landscape in the world of boxing is changing and fighting in the US does not have the same pull as it once did. Especially when it comes to a guy like ‘AJ’ who has had 250,000 people come to watch him in his last three fights. He has the belts and he is the main draw not Wilder.

The other stumbling block that could derail the monster heavyweight showdown is WBA mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin who is waiting in the wings if both camps fail to negotiate, Hearn said:

There have been talks ongoing with Alexander Povetkin’s team because he’s our mandatory opponent (for the WBA title). If it’s not Wilder it will almost certainly be Povetkin, which is also a tough fight. We’ll see how the conversations go, but I’d say we’ve got another three weeks to go.

Being a boxing fan all I want is for the fight to be signed but for selfish reasons I would love for the fight to take place in my country so of course I salute you Mr Joshua!

Featherweight Division starts to take shape

On a defining night for the featherweight division undefeated Josh Warrington (27-0, 6KOs) ripped the IBF title from Lee Selby (26-2, 9KOs) and Gary Russell Jr (29-1, 17KOs) retained his WBC strap against Joseph Diaz Jr (26-1, 14KOs).

The featherweight division is staked with an abundance of talent and after Saturday nights fights we are a step closer to finding out who is the best of the bunch.


Starting at Elland Road, Leeds United fanatic Josh Warrington produced the performance of his life to become the new IBF world champion. In a bloody encounter Warrington stormed out of the blocks from the first bell and took the first two rounds convincingly.

The Welshman was then able to establish a bit of a rhythm in the fourth and fifth but Warrington came back again in the sixth and seventh. Moving into the championship rounds and Warrington did not step off the gas making sure he won his rounds clearly.

Selby left himself open to the left hook on far too many occasions which the Yorkshire man took advantage of time and time again. The 27-year-old finished the fight exactly how he started with two dominant rounds to end the bout.

I think everyone in attendance including team Selby were puzzled with the split decision. Two judges had it correctly in favour of Warrington 116-114 and 115-113 but the third judge must have been blindfolded to score the fight to Selby 115-113.

Warington was not only full of energy and desire but he showed a lot of skill and boxing knowledge to outwit the former champion. The Warrior from Leeds has improved with every fight so he will need to continue in that fashion if his wish to become a unified champion can be achieved.


On the other side of the pond Gary Russell Jr survived an early onslaught to retain his WBC title against ‘Jojo’ Diaz at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill Maryland. The Washington-born champion showed his blistering hand speed was still evident after a year out of the ring taking the first couple of rounds.

Diaz Jr was able to pepper the body to good effect in the first half of the fight which kept it a close contest. Unfortunately for the young challenger he was unable to get close enough during the second half of the bout as Russell Jr took complete control.

The champion was able to adjust keeping his opponent at range using his jab and excellent footwork. With the victory in the bag the 29-year-old neglected his outside style for the final round making the twelfth close to the joy of the fans.

All three judges gave the fight to Russell Jr with two scoring it 117-111 and the third 115-113.

Best featherweights starting to emerge

Before the Oscar Valdez and Scott Quigg fight we had 10 featherweights all vying for the No.1 spot. Two months on and the best featherweights are starting to emerge.

Mexican Valdez, Irishman Frampton, Englishman Warrington and American Russell Jr are in pole position to challenge world number one Leo Santa Cruz who takes on Abnar Mares in June 9.

With WBO champion Valdez still in recovery from a broken jaw we are still unclear as to whether the young Mexican will remain in the 126 pound division. His decision will be significant for WBO interim champion Carl Frampton who will be the 27-year-old’s next opponent if he stays. If he decides to vacate then the Irishman will be elevated to full champion and will seek alternative opponents for his dream fight at Windsor Park, Northern Ireland in August.

The newly crowned IBF champion Warrington will also be keen to hear what Valdez does next as he would be a shoe in for a unification fight with Frampton. After he’s victory on Saturday night he was quick to accept the challenge of fighting Frampton in Ireland. Both fighters are signed with promoter Frank Warren so there should not be any problems getting the fight signed.

American Russell Jr has proved that he is the No.1 featherweight in the states and has indicated that only unification fights will keep him in the division.

Before any deals are negotiated I’m sure everyone will wait on the outcome of Santa Cruz-Mares in two weeks. The winner brings the WBA title to the table. Santa Cruz is the firm favourite and rightfully so but anything can happen in boxing.

In an ideal world

With so many possibilities for all the current world champions it’s hard to work out what will happen next. In an ideal world Valdez will decide to defend his title against Frampton at Windsor Park in August. Josh Warrington could perhaps give Kid Galahad a shot at his title who is highly ranked with the IBF. Which would pave the way for Russell Jr verses Santa Cruz in September/ October.

The World Boxing Super Series has been a revaluation with some of the best names from the bantamweight division signing up for series 2. Well, the featherweights seem to be already producing a series of their own. Let’s hope they continue in the same fashion for the rest of the year so we can have an undisputed champion come 2019!

Selby v Warrington – Breakdown and Predictions

This Saturday night IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby (26-1, 9KOs) defends his title against crowd favourite Josh Warrington (26-0, 6KOs) in front of 38,000 fans at Elland Road, Leeds, England.

Leeds United fan Warrington sees his dream come true of fighting in front of his fans at his beloved football club. The Yorkshire man adds the cherry on the cake with favourite band Kaiser Chiefs playing his track ‘I Predict a Riot’ live while entering the ring accompanied by Leeds United football hero Lucas Radebe.

Amongst the live entertainment there will be some real business going on inside the ring between two highly ranked 126 pounders. The champion is currently ranked at No.2 in Britain and No.6 in the world with his challenger ranked at No.3 domestically and No.7 in the world making this fight delicately poised.


Josh Warrington has fought 193 rounds in 26 bouts with a knockout ratio of 23% and a combined opponent record of 348-322-29.

The 27-year-old has a decent CV with solid victories over Denis Ceylon who he stopped in 10 rounds and a controversial win over Kiko Martinez in his last two fights.

Earlier in his career he stopped Lee Selby conquerer Samir Mouneimne, Rendall Munroe and Patrick Hyland. Other credible victories came against Martin Lindsay, Joel Brunker and Japan’s Hisashi Amagusa.

IBF champion Lee Selby turned pro a year earlier than Warrington in 2008 and has accumulated 207 rounds in 27 fights with a 33% knockout ratio.

The Welshman has a combined opponent record of 439-397-32 but he did face journeyman legend Peter Buckley 31-255-12 in only his second pro fright. Taking that into consideration his combined record makes for excellent reading of 408-142-20.

The 31-year-old has an accomplished CV fighting 8 undefeated fighters most notably two Brits Stephen Smith and Ryan Walsh plus Australian Joe Brunker, Romanian Viorel Simion and and Eduardo Ramirez in his last bout.

Selby captured the IBF title three years ago when the beat undefeated Russian Evgeny Gradovich by technical decision. In his five defences since he has convincingly defeated 4 opponents by unanimous decision.


Warrington stands at 5’ 7” which is an inch and a half shorter than Selby plus the Bary-born fighter has a longer reach by 3-inches. This will give Selby a slight advantage because he is a slick outside fighter. The Leeds man has a come forward style with a great engine.

There is no love loss between these two so Warrington will need to come flying out of the blocks and swamp the champion in hope of unsettling his rhythm.

With the crowd behind the fan favourite he will need to be controlled and use the support to his advantage. The trouble is Selby has ice running through his veins so he will not be overwhelmed by the atmosphere. We are talking about a guy that fought the day after his mother’s passing. 30 odd thousand screaming football fans will not faze him and he will be calm and collected.

The home-fighter has always been a step behind Selby in his career and I expect the same in the ring on Saturday night. Warrington has the perfect style for Selby and he will be too skilful, too sharpe and too head strong to fall into any traps. I am going for the Welshman to win unanimously or maybe even a late stoppage due to a frustrated Warrington going for broke.

The Royal Wedding will take place on Saturday afternoon, then the FA Cup final in the late evening before a lively night of boxing in Leeds. Enjoy your day fight fans

Joshua Buatsi Targets Anthony Yarde this Year

Light heavyweight prospect Joshua Buatsi (6-0, 4KOs) is targeting a fight with fellow Londoner Anthony Yarde (15-0, 14KOs) at some point this year.

The Olympic bronze medalist has thrown his hat into the 175lb domestic mix by calling out Britain’s number one Yarde from Hackney, London.

In a recent interview Buatsi said:

“The public want me to go against Yarde. It’s a fight in demand so that is the one I want.

“It’s good because the public interest is there, everyone is calling for it. I know that it’s one that will captivate and intrigue fans so let’s get it on.

“We have both been matched well and guided appropriately so far and this would be a great test for us to see where we are really at in our careers. The fans are the ones who would benefit most.

“These are the match-ups you need in boxing. Ultimately, we will only know what happens once we fight, but all I will say is that the ring reveals the truth – it’s very real and different once you’re in there, just the two of you.

“Buatsi is coming for you.”

The 25-year-old who is managed by AJ Boxing is also hoping to for a shot at the British or Commonwealth titles. Rumors are circling that current holder of both belts Callum Johnson will vacate for world honors and challenge IBF champ Artur Beterbiev.

“I want those belts eventually, of course, and if Johnson does decide to move on, two challengers will be ordered to fight for each of them.

“I know Yarde is ranked highly in Britain so you would assume it would be him against someone else.

“I’d never turn down the fight, us fighters will fight anyone. It’s up to trainers and managers to correctly guide and advise a career the right way.

“You look at situations like the one with Kell Brook and Amir Khan where the public demand has been there for years and it still hasn’t happened – I don’t want that to be the case here.

“I still think that if we saw Khan and Brook announced this week, people would lose their mind over it and want to watch it. It could just come down to mine and Yarde’s teams as to whether it’s better to take it now or later on.

“He’s a London boy so that local rivalry adds to the fire; I’m just excited by the whole prospect.”

You just cannot knock these young British fighters that are currently working their way through the ranks as they are always eager to fight each other. It’s great to see and long may it continue.

Hughie Fury becomes British heavyweight champion after KO win over Sam Sexton

Hughie Fury (21-1, 11KOs) is the new British heavyweight champion after a fifth round knockout victory over Sam Sexton (24-4, 9KOs) at the Macron Stadium in Bolton.

The 23-year-old put down Sexton with a straight right hand through the guard in the fourth before finishing off the job in the fifth with a right hand counter.

Ex-commonwealth champ Sexton protested to referee Gary O’Connor but the fight was rightfully waved off.

Sexton did try to old-man his younger opponent when he did manage to get in close by using some unsavoury tricks of the trade. Unfortunately for the Norwich man those moments were few and far between.

Instead Fury kept his cool and didn’t allow Sexton to upset his rhythm. He boxed well on the outside and used his jab and footwork effectively to stay out of trouble.

Fury’s last knockout victory was almost three years ago so it was surprising that the Manchester-based fighter managed to stop Sexton. Especially if you consider that the 33-year-old hasn’t been stopped since 2012 against David Price.

The new British champion credited the right hand finish to his father and hard work in the gym. Fury said:

“I was confident. My body has got so much stronger. I worked on my right hand over Christmas. It was a boxing masterclass.

“All credit goes to this man [Peter Fury].

“I’ve done everything he said tonight. This fight is dedicated to my dad.

”I knew Sam Sexton would give his all, because this was his last chance. I was so relaxed I could’ve fallen asleep.

Hughie Fury is hopeful that this victory will put him back in contention for world honours. The younger cousin of Tyson said:

“I dream to be a world champion. Whoever has got those belts – I’m coming. Although I lost to Parker, I’m coming. I’m ready to fight.”

All credit to Fury for picking up the British title but he will need to overcome some bigger names if he is to be even considered for another title shot.

Joe Joyce was been calling out the winner for tonight’s fight which would be a decent British tear-up. But Peter Fury was quick to put that fight on the back burner a few days ago when he said that his son is ahead of Joyce and wouldn’t the considered.

It’s hard to figure out what route Hughie will take because he is behind Dillian Whyte, Luis Ortiz, Dominic Breazeale, Kubrat Pulev and Alexander Povetkin. Maybe their looking at taking on the winner of that joke fight between WBA regular champion Manuel Charr and Fres Oquendo.

A rematch against Joseph Parker would be a step in the right direction or even push for a trip to the US to fight Jarrell Miller. That is of course if Joshua doesn’t fight Miller first. I’m almost certain Fury will be staying away from Anthony Gorman and Daniel Dubois. Other alternatives are David Price, Agit Kabayel or Dereck Chisora.

What ever the next step is for Hughie Fury I wish him all the best. At the age of 23, you can be assured that time is definitely on his side.

Three Bantamweight World Champions added to WBSS Season 2

Undefeated WBA ‘Super’ bantamweight world champion Ryan Burnett (19-0, 9KOs) is the latest world champion to join season 2 of the World Boxing Super Series.

The 25-year-old will be joined by WBO holder Zolani Tete (27-3, 21KOs) and recently crowned IBF holder Emmanuel Rodriguez (18-0, 12KOs) in the second series of the knockout tournament.

Kalle Sauerland broke the news on his Tweeter account this afternoon:

BOOOOOM! #WBSS Season II – the Bantamweights! Signed up already are THREE World Champs….WBA Champ @ryanburnett01 ….. IBF Champ Manny Rodriguez and WBO Champ Zolani Tete more to follow here… #AliTrophy

The Belfast boy who defended his title against Yonfrez Parejo on the Joshua-Parker undercard expresses his desire to become a unified world champion:

“I have always wanted to be a world champion and to unify the titles against the best opposition out there,” he said.

“Now the World Boxing Super Series allows me to continue my dream against the other champions in the bantamweight division.”

South African WBO champion Zolani Tete has already called out who he wants first in the Super Series:

“I’m excited because I finally get the chance to prove myself against the best bantamweights in the world.

“We have been calling out Ryan Burnett quite a few times now but even surely the fight will happen sooner than expected.”

The recently crowned IBF champion Rodriguez is also very excited by the prospect of fighting the very best in the 118lb division:

“There will be eight fighters. In the first round I have the power to choose a challenger that is ranked among the top 10. For the second round it would be against a forced champion and then a great final.

“Whoever wins the tournament will keep all the belts, prize money and the Muhammad Ali Cup.”

The organisers are also adding two more weight classes to their second series and will make announcements in the coming weeks.

After the success of the cruiserweights and super-middleweights this second series could top both. The delayed finals of the current series will be decided “in the next 10 days”, said Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer, Kalle Sauerland.

World Super Series Boxing has been a breathe of fresh air and I can’t wait for the draw in July and the first rounds to start in September.

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