Ahead of the fixtures for season two of the World Boxing Super Series being announced, here’s a look at who’s who in the bantamweight division.
WBSS: INTRODUCING THE BANTAMWEIGHTS
Ryan Burnett (SEEDED #1)
Record: 19 – 0
From: Belfast, Northern Ireland
WBA Super World Bantamweight Champion
Trained by Adam Booth, the unbeaten Belfast man is a former unified WBA and IBF Bantamweight World Champion and will go into the tournament as one of the favorites.
He already fights under the Matchroom banner and shares the same gym as welterweight prospect Josh Kelly. He will enter the tournament as the number one seeded fighter.
Naoya Inoue (SEEDED #2)
Record: 16 – 0
From: Kanagawa, Japan
WBA Regular World Bantamweight Champion
Known simply as ‘Monster’, Inoue is a three weight world champion known for his punching power. England’s Jamie McDonnell, who had never been knocked out previously, was blasted out in one round in what was Inoue’s first fight up at bantamweight.
Despite his lack of experience at bantamweight, Inoue has been given the number two seed by tournament organizers.
Zolani Tete (SEEDED #3)
Record: 27 – 3
From: Eastern Cape, South Africa
WBO Bantamweight World Champion
Zolani Tete holds the record for the quickest ever world title fight, having knocked out one of his previous opponents in 11 seconds.
He is now on a 12 fight win streak and has recently expressed his desire to unify with fellow champion Ryan Burnett, although he will have to wait until at least the semi-final after both himself (3) and Burnett (1) were put in the seeded side of the draw.
Emmanuel Rodriguez (SEEDED #4)
Record: 18 – 0
From: Manati, Puerto Rico
IBF Bantamweight World Champion
Emmanuel Rodriguez will be familiar to UK fight fans after beating Liverpool’s Paul Butler at the O2 in May, on the Bellew – Haye undercard.
He also enters the competition with a perfect 18 – 0 record, with 12 of those wins coming by way of knockout.
‘Manny’ also brings his IBF world title to the table meaning the winner of the tournament will hold the IBF, WBA and WBO titles.
Record: 38 – 5
From: Talibon, Philippines
Former four-weight world champion
The ‘Filipino flash’ is the most experienced and decorated fighter in the competition. At 35, he is now entering the twilight of his career and has dropped back down in weight following his point’s loss to Carl Frampton in April this year.
He has previously held both the WBC and WBO belts in the 118 pound division.
Record: 17 – 0
From: Victoria, Australia
IBF Mandatory Challenger
Jason Maloney is unbeaten in his 17 fights as a professional but has never fought outside of his native Australia. He is probably best known for defeating Northern Irelands Michael Conlan in the 2010 Commonwealth games.
He is already confirmed to be facing Emmanuel Rodriguez in the quarter-final of the Super series, after being installed as the IBF’s mandatory challenger earlier this year.
Juan Carlos Payano
Record: 21 – 1
From: La Vega, Dominican Republic
Former WBA Super World Bantamweight Champion
The tricky southpaw, nicknamed ‘Baby Pacquiao’ is a former bantamweight world champion and two-time Olympian, having represented his country in Athens and Beijing.
The Dominican Republic native now fights out of Miami, Florida with the only blemish on his record coming via majority decision against amateur standout Rau’shee Warren.
Record: 4 – 0
From: Bambakashat, Armenia
Undefeated amateur sensation
Mikhail Aloyan is the biggest unknown in the tournament. With only four fights in the professional ranks he is by far the least experienced but has enjoyed an extensive amateur career.
He holds an Olympic bronze medal, two world amateur championship golds and also won gold at the Amateur World cup in Moscow in 2008 so he certainly has pedigree.
Jac Rogers is a contributor to World Boxing News. Follow Jac on Twitter @Jac_Rogers_