They weren’t lying to us. It’s true. The bantamweight season of the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) will indeed feature not only WBO champion Zolani Tete and IBF champion Emmanuel Rodriguez, but also WBA ruler Ryan Burnett and WBA regular champion (God, that sounds stupid) Naoya Inoue.
All four of them. One, two, three, four. They’ll all be there.
Sorry but how badass 🔥 are these Bantam and Super Lightweight line-ups….just completing the seeding now on the plane to Moscow! Who will pick who….your thoughts please….seedings and who picks who? #TheDraft #WBSS https://t.co/0VCfFI5nCj
— Kalle & Nisse Sauerland (@SauerlandBros) July 18, 2018
This line-up was promised a while ago, of course, but, with matters such as these, you never really know what goes on behind the scenes. In recent weeks, for example, there were question marks surrounding the participation of both Burnett and Inoue and, with the draw on July 20 fast approaching, there was a niggling fear the grand reveal might not be as impressive as first anticipated.
Those concerns, however, have since been allayed and now we can all look forward to what appears, on paper, to arguably be the best WBSS tournament to date. It’s certainly superior to last season’s super-middleweight selection, despite the big British contingency, and it may even be an improvement on the brilliant cruiserweights. Bravo, Comosa AG.
(Bonus: Manchester’s former WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan, last seen losing a competitive 12-rounder against American Maurice Hooker, is all signed up for the WBSS season two super-lightweight tournament.)
We still don’t know when George Groves and Callum Smith will meet in the final of the World Boxing Super Series’ super-middleweight tournament, but, thanks to a Groves tweet yesterday, we do now know his shoulder is 100% and he’s ready to fight.
Not only that, he’s getting impatient, annoyed even, and, like everyone else, wants to know when a final originally set for June is actually going to take place.
I wonder if @WBSuperSeries will ever set a fight date for the SM final!? 🤷♂️
Probably not. Oh well, might as well go running just in case there’s a sniff of a chance someone 👃 something they haven’t told us all yet.
Again probably not.
— George Groves (@StGeorgeGroves) July 17, 2018
September has been rumoured but now seems unlikely. What’s more, with season two of the WBSS about to get underway, and with some strong line-ups announced (see above), there’s a very real possibility Groves vs. Smith, once a fascinating final, somehow gets lost in the shuffle and loses some all-important momentum.
It’s difficult to fathom a reason for the delay. Perhaps Groves, in getting injured, scuppering the original date, and then waiting until he was 100% fit, has somehow jinxed himself, shot himself in the foot – or shoulder. But that’s hardly fair.
More likely, the delay caused by this injury has created a bit of a queue, and now Groves vs. Smith discovers it is way down the list of priorities, displaced by the bantamweights and the super-lightweights and a tremendous cruiserweight final this Saturday (July 21) between Oleksandr Usyk and Murat Gassiev.
If so, you can see why Groves has used his repaired shoulder to fling some toys around.
And finally… MTK Global, an ever-growing management and promotional force, have added another name to their fighter roster in the form of two-time Olympian and current WBC number one-ranked bantamweight Nordine Oubaali.
The gifted Frenchman, 14-0 (11), is set to contest the vacant WBC world title in his next bout, having won the silver title, as well as a WBA intercontinental belt, and could then find himself in the mix with many of the 118-pounders who have or haven’t signed up for season two of the World Boxing Super Series.
With a WBC belt to his name, he’ll certainly be a man in demand.
“I would like to thank MTK Global for giving me the opportunity to work with them,” Oubaali said. “I feel with their guidance I’ll be able to become world champion and unify the belts.”
MTK Global’s Head of Business Development Dr. Mirko Wolf said: “I’ve known Nordine since his amateur days and I’ve always liked his way of fighting.
“I believe Nordine has that ‘X-factor’ that separates true champions from the rest and we are very happy to be working with him.”
Glad that the cat’s out the bag. I couldn’t bite my tongue much longer! We’ve signed 2-time Olympian and WBC Silver champ Nordine Oubaali. He will lead our charge into France. Excited about this one!
— MTK Scout 🔎 (@MTKScout) July 18, 2018