YESTERDAY it appeared Ivan Baranchyk was an unhappy man who was fed up with the World Boxing Super Series and on the verge of pulling out of the tournament. Today, however, he has been confirmed as Josh Taylor’s opponent on May 18 at The SSE Hydro, Glasgow, and seemingly either had a change of heart or was never all that troubled in the first place.
Whatever the truth, the IBF super-lightweight champion from Belarus is apparently up for his trip to Scotland and more than happy to remain on course to lift the WBSS’ Muhammad Ali Trophy.
“My nature, effort and my love of boxing will help me get the Ali Trophy,” said ‘The Beast’ Baranchyk, 19-0 (12).
Scotland’s Taylor, meanwhile, a man with a bit more to say, now has the chance to become a world champion, having won WBC silver honours and Commonwealth honours in previous fights.
“I am delighted to be fighting for the world title,” said Taylor, 14-0 (12). “It is a childhood dream to become a world champion. I am very confident I will win and do it in fashion.”
Back in November, Taylor impressed with a seventh-round stoppage of unbeaten American Ryan Martin. One week before that, Baranchyk scored a seventh-round stoppage of his own against Sweden’s Anthony Yigit. Both are on form, then, and both, more importantly, want to continue their participation in a tournament scaremongers say is in danger of falling apart.
“We are super-excited to bring the biggest boxing event to Scotland in many years,” said Kalle Sauerland, Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer. “It is not only a night of world championship boxing but also the massive opportunity to claim a place in the final of the World Boxing Super Series and be crowned the best super-lightweight in the world.”
Anthony Yarde has been talking about fighting the best in the world for some time now but has yet to show the same kind of ambition in his choice of opposition.
He fights the best opponent of his career on February 23, in the shape of former European champion Mehdi Amar, but would still appear to be some way off fighting the elite of the light-heavyweight division.
That’s not to say he isn’t getting close, though. In fact, should the 27-year-old do an impressive job on Amar, thus securing the 18th straight win of his pro career, there’s every chance he will be mandated by the WBO and considered next in line to face the winner of this Saturday’s WBO light-heavyweight title fight between Eleider Alvarez and Sergey Kovalev.
“These are the world champions and I’ve always said it doesn’t matter who the champion is, I have just got to be ready for when I get to that stage,” said Yarde, a WBO intercontinental champion. “I am very nearly at that stage now. I am ranked number one by the WBO and number eight in the world by BoxRec, so that is a very big position – top 10 in the world after 17 fights.
“It shows I am doing something right and I’ve just got to keep working hard.
“I might watch Alvarez-Kovalev, but I won’t be watching it to see what they are doing because I try not to watch my opponents to see what they are doing well.
“If you consistently watch a possible opponent you start to worry about what they do well. I just need to worry about what I do. I’ve seen Kovalev fight a few times – before I was even a professional – so I know what he is about, and I know he is slowing down, although he has still got the power, obviously.
“But until I am booked to fight these guys I don’t need to pay them any attention.”