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Ryan Burnett pulls out of World Boxing Super Series?

Speculation is starting to mount that WBA bantamweight champion Ryan Burnett [19(9)-0] has withdrawn from the upcoming second season of the World Boxing Super Series [WBSS].

The Belfast fighter was announced alongside new IBF champ Manny Rodriguez and WBO titlist Zolani Tete at the launch press conference almost two months ago.

Since when, Aussie IBF mandatory Jason Moloney has been officially confirmed while Japanese two-weight world champion Naoya Inoue and Russian amateur star Misha Aloyan have been essentially confirmed by and the fighter himself and the head of the Russian Boxing Federation respectively – leaving, in theory, two more slots for the big-money single-elimination tournament.

However, the most recent press release sent out by the WBSS does not include Burnett in the list of signed-up bantamweight fighters.

The release, which announces that streaming service DAZN has secured the U.S. broadcast rights for the upcoming season, was sent out almost 24 hours ago.

While it is hoped that this is an innocous mistake, no follow-up correction has been issued and Burnett is still omitted from the article on the official WBSS website.

READ: DAZN secure U.S. streaming rights for WBSS Season Two.

Boxing fans have noted the absence of Burnett and, via social media, have requested clarification from the likes of WBSS Chief Boxing Officer Kalle Sauerland and the Irishman’s promoter Eddie Hearn with no response.

Irish-Boxing.com have enquired with both the WBSS and Burnett’s PR team but have also received no response as of yet.

Burnett, who is trained and managed by Adam Booth, did not attend the launch press conference, with Sauerland saying that “he was unable to join us today. The deal was only agreed this morning, that’s why there was a small delay in the press conference.”

“I’m very happy to have reached terms with both Matchroom and with Adam Booth, my good old friend.”

26-year-old Burnett is in Belfast currently having recently moved into his first house. The Antrim Road fighter was at the SSE Odyssey Arena at the weekend for new gym-mate Mick Conlan who won his big homecoming bout versus Adeilson Dos Santos.

The WBSS Draft Gala where the four seeded fighters pick their quarter-final opponents, is due to take place in Moscow on Sunday July 22nd. Burnett was expected to be one of the top seeds.

2010 Youth Olympic gold medallist Burnett won the WBA and IBF titles last year versus Lee Haskins and Zhanat Zhakiyanov respectively, later vacating the IBF belt and defending the WBA strap in his most recent fight in March versus Yonfrez Parejo.

Burnett had spoken of his desire for his opening WBSS bout – this September or October – to be in Belfast and Hearn’s winning of the purse bids for James Tennyson’s European super featherweight title defence versus Samir Ziani looked to have signalled the start of the formation of the card.

However, yesterday’s release and the, so far, lack of clarification, has raised serious doubts in the boxing community.


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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie