The World Boxing Super Series has been revolutionary for the sport since it launched in 2017. In a knockout style format, the tournament attempts to pit the eight best fighters in each division against each other. By putting money, belts, pride and the Ali Trophy on the line the WBSS has attracted many huge stars and once in the competition these elite-level boxers have delivered big time.
Over the past few years, the competition has provided the highest level and most entertaining fights any fan could hope to see. It’s organizers Camosa and promoters Kalle Sauerland and his Brother Nisse Sauerland, have done a terrific job in making the tournament such a huge success.
The WBSS burst onto the scene by announcing tournaments at Cruiserweight and super middleweight divisions however, it was the competition at 200lbs which truly stole the show. All the best fighters and more importantly all of the belts were on the line for the competition.
After multiple ‘fight of the year’ contenders, vicious knockouts and world-class performances, Oleksandr Usyk was crowned the winner. The Ukrainian emerged as a superstar after becoming the undisputed champion at Cruiserweight. He has now moved on to heavyweight and seems in line for the biggest and best fights the sport has to offer.
Whilst the middleweight tournament wasn’t as successful, it was still better than anything the division has seen since the Super Six. George Groves brought his WBA belt to the tournament and went toe-to-toe with compatriots Chris Eubank Jr and Callum Smith, much to the British fight fans’ pleasure. Ultimately ‘Mundo’ Smith emerged with the belt, the Ali Trophy and became the consensus number one at 168lbs. Such was the success of its the first season the WBSS decided to expand the competition, now covering three divisions simultaneously in its second season.
IN 2019, tournaments ran at Bantamweight, Super Lightweight and once again at cruiserweight.
Off the back of a hugely successful first year the tournaments organisers had managed to snag the majority of stars in those 3 weight divisions, most notably was the 118lb tournament which was littered with the best at the lower weights and included big names such as Naoya Inoue, Nonito Donaire, and Ryan Burnett who unfortunately suffered an injury mid-fight with Donaire which brought the fight to an end prematurely, however, in the end, it was Inoue ‘the Monster’ from Japan who emerged victoriously and propelled himself to super-stardom through his performances on the biggest stage.
At Super Lightweight the WBA and IBF titles were on the line but all roads led to a final between Josh Taylor and Regis Prograis. The two fighters where head and shoulders above the rest must be considered number one and number two at 140lbs, especially after putting on one of the best fights of 2019.
The pair went back and forth in London, England for 12 hard rounds it was Taylor who ultimately got the nod from the judges in a fight for the ages.
After the 2018 Winner from the Cruiserweight division moved up to Heavyweight the chasing pack had another chance to cement their legacy at 200lbs. Yuniel Dorticós and Mairis Briedis both made the semi-final stage last time out and managed to go one step further this time around. The pair have long been scheduled to meet but issues with the sanctioning bodies has meant this final has been delayed. However, they do now have a date. These two men will go to war for the IBF and Ring Magazine belt in March.
This fight will round off a successful second season and great couple of years for the brand. Although they haven’t been without their struggles.
The tournament has been steeped in controversy throughout the first two seasons. Most notable has been an underlying feeling of discontent among some of the fighters involved. Both Regis Prograis and Ivan Baranchyk pulled out of the competition at different stages, citing issues with pay. The loss of serious financial backing sent the tournament into disarray, but the organizers managed to get things under control and keep everyone relatively happy in the end.
These financial issues are likely to have been brought on by the lack of TV partners in the United States. The first season went un-aired in America, whilst its fight fans miss out on epic nights, the company lost out on millions of dollars. This undoubtedly caused financial upheaval. As you’d expect boxers get injured from time to time however, this tournament adheres to a tight schedule, and if you can’t fight on a given date.. you’re out. This is a system that makes sense but ultimately takes away from the competition and may need changing moving forward.
Two seasons down, hopefully many more to come.
If Kalle Sauerland is to be believed we may even get a heavyweight WBSS at some point. The promoter has been talking up the idea in recent times, although he admits it is unlikely to come in 2020.
This is due to the current landscape at heavyweight, the division is currently run by three key fighters. Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua are unlikely to enter the tournament in the near future. However, it could still happen without them. Beyond the big three, heavyweight is blessed with a lot of talent. The likes of Dillian Whyte, Joseph Parker, Kubrat Pulev, Luis Ortiz or Andy Ruiz, could battle it out with rising stars such as Daniel Dubious, Filip Hrgovic and Joy Joyce.
Essentially a Heavyweight tournament with the names mentioned would be considered to be a ‘best of the rest competition’ which I’m sure everyone is keen to see, all involved could get monster paydays and massive credit for putting it on the line against the other Heavyweight elite.
The Ali Trophy and a secondary WBA belt would likely be on offer, giving the eventual winner serious firepower to enter negotiations with any of the three players at heavyweight. Only time will tell if we will ever get to see this happen.
Not to worry though, season three and its weight classes will be announced in the very near future.
Long live the World Boxing Super Series.