Newest fighter CONFIRMED for Bantamweight WBSS – Burnett question marks remain

Following on from the confirmation of four-weight champion Nonito Donaire last week, another fighter has been announced for the bantamweight competition in the second season of the World Boxing Super Series [WBSS]

Dominican southpaw Juan Carlos Payano [20(9)-1(0)], following reports that he had struck a deal last week, has this afternoon been revealed as the latest boxer to join the line-up for the big-money, eight-fighter tournament.

The 34-year-old Caribbean fighter is a former world champion at the weight having traveled to Panama to upset and dethrone long-reigning WBA titlist Anselmo Moreno in 2014. He defended the belt the following year with another upset win over American former amateur star Rau’shee Warren before losing the title in rematch the following year.

The black WBA belt has since found its way into the position of Belfast’s Ryan Burnett [19(9)-0] and the Belfast star was announced for the WBSS back in May only for recent doubts to emerge regarding his participation.

Burnett was part of the initial announcement alongside WBO champ Zolani Tete and IBF titlist Manny Rodriguez. IBF mandatory challenger Jason Moloney was then added and will face Rodriguez in the quarters, followed by Donaire, while Naoya Inoue and Misha Aloyan have both been essentially confirmed by parties with knowledge of the deal.

However, a stir was caused online when Burnett was excluded from a WBSS press release last week which listed the entrants and subsequent releases have not included any lists whatsoever.

Enquiries, from both fans and media, have been made to both the tournament organisers and to Burnett’s team but there has been a stonewall silence.

Should Burnett remain in the competition, today’s announcement of Payano would seem to complete the line-up – assuming Inoue and Aloyan are, in fact, set to compete as their respective teams and governing bodies have claimed.

Payano said that “I am very happy to join the tournament, ecstatic to be very honest. Looking forward to regaining my championship positions.”

“It is great to see the best fighting the best and in the end being recognized as truly the best in the division.”

“I want to be recognized as the undisputed best. I want to prove that I am the best!”

Kalle Saureland, the chief boxing officer for the competition, said that “the bantamweight tournament will be nothing but exceptional.”

“Payano is a former champion, an experienced fighter guaranteeing fast-paced action. He is another great addition to a star-studded Season II of the World Boxing Super Series.”

Confirmation of Burnett’s status and the full line-up is expected over the next few days ahead of the Draft Gala in Moscow on Sunday July 22nd.

Should he be in the tournament, it is assumed Burnett will be a seeded fighter along with Inoue and Tete and, depending on his ranking, will choose from either Moloney, Donaire, or Payano.

As mentioned above, a mandatory defence for Rodriguez versus Moloney has been pre-agreed. Payano is also the mandatory for WBO champ Tete and something similar may occur here, however, it has not yet been mentioned by the WBSS.


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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: