Hot on the heels of Ilunga Makabu announcing his intention to be part of the cruiserweight World Boxing Super Series, ex-world title challenger Youri Kalenga has informed WBN he also wants the chance to win the coveted Muhammad Ali Trophy.
Kalenga, 29, has held the interim championship and challenged at world level on two occasions, credentials the Frenchman believes should result in an offer to participate in the draw next month.
IBF champion Murat Gassiev, WBC belt holder Mairis Briedis and new WBA regular ruler and former Kalenga opponent Yunier Dorticos are all currently set to be seeded when the eight-man tournament continues to gather a full roster.
Polish star and ex-world number one at 200 pounds, Krzysztof Wlodarczyk is the fourth man already signed on, meaning Kalenga is hopeful of snagging one of the four places currently unconfirmed.
“I would love to fight Dorticos again to get my revenge,” Kalenga exclusively told World Boxing News.
““When my fight was stopped in round ten I was ahead on two of the judges’ scorecards. He got lucky that night. He won’t be lucky next time and we have unfinished business, but give me any of those guys and I will guarantee I will entertain the viewers.
“I have been involved in two of the best cruiserweight contest in recent years when I challenged Dennis Lebedev in 2014 and last year when I fought Dorticos for the vacant WBA title. The boxing fans know they will get entertainment every time I enter the ring. All of France is supporting me and believe in me. I will be champion of the world in my next title fight and I promise that.
“The World Boxing Super Series tournament is exactly what I need to get fights because these belt holders will not fight me unless they have to, and with this tournament they have to take me on.”
Manager Gary Hyde added: “Youri Kalenga would relish a chance to fight any of the fighters already picked to fight in the tournament.
“Previously, we have asked Dorticos, Gassiev, Huck, Glowacki and many others to fight Youri Kalenga, but they have all turned us down.
“The concept of Super Series is ideal for dangerous avoided fighters like Kalenga and I believe It would be an injustice if he didn’t get a crack at this tournament,” said Hyde.
With the draw just two weeks away, the last four fighters are set to be revealed imminently as the seeded participants prepare to pick their own opponents in an unprecedented move on July 8.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay