Yesterday the World Boxing Super Series announced that they will continue with their bantamweight tournament by scheduling a semifinal bout between Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-0, 12 KOs) and Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15 KOs), set for May 18 at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow — though questions remain if that will actually be the case.
The bout is intended to serve as the co-feature to a junior welterweight semifinal bout between Josh Taylor and Ivan Baranchyk, but there are still questions about whether or not Baranchyk is still participating in the WBSS after his manager claimed the fighter had pulled out of the tournament. A day after announcing Baranchyck’s withdrawal from the tournament, the WBSS announced his fight against Taylor anyway.
The WBSS has reportedly been suffering financial strains after one of its investors pulled his money out of the pot, which has made it difficult for them to pay the fighter’s purses and the bonuses awarded to them. Those issues, as well as the elongated timetable of the tournaments, has even recently caused another 140lb semifinalist Regis Prograis to consider walking out on the tournament.
But despite the questions lingering around the tournament, Emmanuel Rodriguez is moving forward as if everything will happen as it’s supposed to.
“I have been waiting for this moment my entire life,” Rodriguez said. “I always wanted to fight the best, and now I am fighting a boxer considered (one of) the best by the boxing reporters and fans. That’s great motivation for me, my team and Puerto Rico. We got this. I am going to get the victory. Puerto Rico will shine in Scotland and I am confident of going all the way and take home the Ali Trophy.”
At this time the only other semifinal contest to be scheduled is a cruiserweight contest between Mairis Briedis (25-1, 18 KOs) and Krzysztof Glowacki (31-1, 19 KOs), set for June 15 in Riga, Latvia. The tournament’s other semifinal contests in its participating weight classes — Kiryl Relikh vs. Regis Prograis, Zolani Tete vs. Nonito Donaire, and Yunier Dorticos vs. Andrew Tabiti — are still without dates or venues.