The World Boxing Super Series may have just announced a semifinal fight in the cruiserweight tournament between Mairis Briedis and Krzysztof Glowacki — scheduled for June 15 — but the truth is there are still a lot of issues with tournament as a whole. And pretty much all of those issues come down to financing, which risks sinking one of the lone bright spots in the sport of boxing right now.
The WBSS has paid a lot of its participating fighters late for its quarterfinals round, and ESPN reports that some bonus payments haven’t been made at all. Last month IBF junior welterweight titleholder Ivan Baranchyk withdrew from the 140lb tournament over his frustrations surrounding the financial difficulties, and Regis Prograis could be soon to follow, which his semifinal bout against Kiryl Relikh in danger of not happening.
Prograis’ manager, Sam Katkovski, claims his fighter is still owed money from his quarterfinal bout against Terry Flanagan last October and that they have ongoing concerns about being paid for the semifinal round, which has not yet been scheduled. There are additional concerns as well, regarding how long it will take to finish the tournament at its current pace. The tournaments were supposed to be concluded within a year, but are on track to take much, much longer than that.
“They are stalling Regis’ career at a time when there are a lot of significant opportunities out there for him,” Katkovski said.
“We are having more discussion to see if they can put our concerns at ease,” Katkovski said. “We want to figure out a solution. We don’t want to withdraw from the tournament. Regis wants to fight for the belts. If everything is put to ease in our mind, fine, but there are still financial issues surrounding the tournament and there are delays. Regis was supposed to fight his seminal [in February]. That’s a concern. If they have the money like they say they do, put it in the [escrow] account.”
How this all plays out is still up in the air at this point, but in its short time of existence the WBSS tournament has mostly matched-up the best fighters in their respective weight classes, which paved the way for Oleksandr Usyk to become the first undisputed cruiserweight champion during the WBSS’ inaugural season.
It would be a shame to see the tournament collapse already, but it’s certainly looks like a real possibility with very few of the remaining fights having scheduled dates.