Belfast’s WBA champion Ryan Burnett was announced for the eight-man single-elimination tournament last month alongside WBO titlist Zolani Tete and new IBF champ Manny Rodriguez.
Japanese two-weight champion Naoya Inoue was subsequently confirmed following his shellacking of Jamie McDonnell and now Russian former amateur star Misha Aloyan [4(0)-0] looks set to join the line up.
The Russian Boxing Federation Secretary General Umar Kremlev announced on Russian state news agency RIA Novosti that Aloyan, who is promoted by Vlad Hrunov’s World of Boxing, will compete in the second season of the tournament which offers a reported $4,000,000 to the winner.
Aloyan, who is part of the Yazidi minority of what is now Armenia, had an outstanding amateur career winning European gold, three World Championships medals (two golds and one bronze), and two Olympic medals, bronze and silver. However, the southpaw caused huge controversy in 2016, being stripped of his Rio silver after it emerged that he had tested positive in-competition for the banned substance tuaminoheptane.
Aloyan, who also competed in the APB, turned pro last year at super flyweight, dominating Yader Cardoza – who had given Jamie Conlan serious trouble in his previous fight – in his debut. He then won the WBC Silver title with another dominant win over another Nicaraguan in Marvin Solano. Since then he has moved up to bantamweight where he has won and defended the WBA International rankings belt with successive split-decision wins over more Nicaraguans Hermogenes Castillo and Alexander Espinoza.
Now 29 years of age, Aloyan sits at #5 in the WBA rankings topped by Burnett.
Should Aloyan be confirmed by the WBSS, that would leave three spots to fill. Names rumoured in recent weeks include Reymart Gaballo, Nonito Donaire, Jason Moloney, Liborio Solis, Juan Carlos Payano and Luis Nery – while the postponement of the WBC vacant title fight between Nordine Oubaali and Tassana Sanpattan could perhaps allow this to become a WBSS quarter-final match-up and facilitate the eventual crowning of an undisputed champion.
Whoever does indeed end up entering will be confirmed in the next few weeks with Kremlev also stating that the Draft Gala, where the four seeded fighters choose the quarter final opponents, will take place in Moscow on Sunday July 22nd, with the event moving from Monte Carlo in Monaco.
Burnett, who is currently in the beginnings of camp with Adam Booth in London, is expected to be one of the seeded fighters and the Antrim Road 26-year-old is keen for his opening bout to take place at the SSE Odyssey Arena in Belfast.
Opening round matches, based on this season, take place in September and October, with semi-finals in January and February, and finals in the Summer.
The second season of the World Boxing Super Series will feature two further weights alongside bantamweight. While not yet announced, it is an open secret that one of these will be light welterweight while the other weight has been something of a mystery – until Kremlev confirmed that, for the second season running, there will be a super middleweight tournament with former WBA champ Fedor Chudinov and seven others partaking.
The light welterweight tournament will reportedly feature WBA champ Kiryl Relikh, WBA mandatory and former IBF champ Eduard Troyanovsky, Regis Prograis, Ryan Martin, and upcoming IBF vacant title combatants Anthony Yigit and Ivan Baranchyk – while new WBO champion Maurice Hooker and WBC mandatory Josh Taylor are heavily rumoured to also be taking part.
WBC 140lbs champion Jose Ramirez is not competing, and the Top Rank fighter defends his belt versus Irish-American Danny O’Connor next month.
The inaugural season of the Kalle Sauerland-organised Comosa Group-funded tournament is currently approaching its climax. WBA champion George Groves defends his title versus Callum Smith in an all-English super middleweight affair, while Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk and Russian Murat Gassiev will bring all four major belts together to crown an undisputed cruiserweight champion.