The World Boxing Super Series bantamweight and super-lightweight tournaments are now complete, with the Gala Draw for both set to take place this weekend.
A third weight class, at a poundage stipulation yet to be confirmed, will stage its own standout draw separate from the other two events.
So, what division could hold such an honor? – Well, the big assumption is Comosa AG will announce a heavyweight version of the eight-man competition.
Should all be revealed soon for a 200 pound plus bracket, WBN looks at the contenders available for a September to May three-fight bonanza.
Well, four out of the top five in the WBN Divisional Rankings are tied up, with Anthony Joshua (one), Deontay Wilder (two), Alexander Povetkin (three) and Joseph Parker (five), all out of commission due to other commitments.
It’s possible the winner of a clash between Parker and Dillian Whyte could enter – but with the big two of Joshua and Wilder not involved, either may decide to give the WBSS a miss.
Wilder’s representatives have informed WBN there’s no interest in the American joining without Joshua being involved, leaving the WBSS bereft of the main title holders.
Number four ranked Kubrat Pulev is the most likely name to feature, along with whoever agrees to step forward for the imminent IBF mandatory ordered earlier this year.
Whyte and Jarrell Miller have already passed following a purse bid, leaving Hughie Fury next in line and a strong possibility to be entrant number two.
Pulev is promoted by Team Sauerland, who are heavily involved with the WBSS through Kalle Sauerland, which means the Bulgarian would be a virtual shoe-in to feature.
With the WBSS having a track record for securing the participation of champions, it would be wise to assume Manuel Charr will be drafted due to his status as the WBA ‘regular’ belt holder.
Charr has to make a long-awaited defense against Fres Oquendo in September, meaning that contest could well be the second match-up already arranged without a draw needed.
Now it’s a case of who’s available for those nine or ten months and of the stature and profile that fits the WBSS model.
The WBSS like to give at least one up and coming contender the opportunity, which could mean undefeated Filip Hrgovic gets a call-up, whilst Luis Ortiz would be a good addition should he come through a comeback fight at the end of the month.
Marco Huck is back competing in Germany and has form in the WBSS at cruiserweight, whilst wily veteran Shannon Briggs would inject some bluster into proceedings if brought in.
Further contenders who could be given a chance are the likes of Otto Wallin, the winner of Carlos Takam v Dereck Chisora, European champion Agit Kabayel, Germany’s Tom Schwarz and Australian Lucas Browne.
Outside chances would go to Joe Joyce and Nathan Gorman of Great Britain, with Mariusz Wach, Tony Yoka (if gaining clearance), Gerald Washington and Bermane Stiverne potentially considered.
David Price and Alexander Ustinov, both of whom have worked with the Sauerland’s in the past, may be options for a reserve capacity.
The only marquee name out there who could spark further interest would be Tyson Fury, although as plans are already in place under Frank Warren, it’s not thought to be an option for the former world ruler. Either Fury signing up would then obviously cancel out the other.
WBN’s Heavyweight WBSS:
Kubrat Pulev – IBF Mandatory
Hughie Fury – IBF Mandatory opponent
Manuel Charr – WBA Champion
Fres Oquendo – WBA Mandatory
Filip Hrgovic – Undefeated contender
Luis Ortiz – Former world title challenger
Otto Wallin – Undefeated contender
Shannon Briggs – Former world champion
Below are the fighters confirmed so far for Season II.
Ryan Burnett – WBA Super World Bantamweight Champion
Emmanuel Rodriguez – IBF World Bantamweight Champion
Zolani Tete – WBO World Bantamweight Champion
Naoya Inoue – WBA World Regular Champion
Nonito Donaire – former four-time world champion
Juan Carlos Payano – former bantamweight world titleholder
Jason Moloney – mandatory challenger
Mikhail Aloyan – undefeated contender
Kiryl Relikh, WBA World Super Lightweight Champion
Anthony Yigit, European Champion and IBF mandatory
Regis Prograis, Interim WBC World Champion
Ivan Baranchyk, IBF mandatory
Josh Taylor, WBC mandatory
Eduard Troyanovsky, WBA mandatory
Ryan Martin, undefeated challenger
Terry Flanagan, former world champion
The draws for bantamweight and super-lightweight take place on July 20.