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World Boxing Super Series semi-finals announced

Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports


World Boxing Super Series semi-finals announced

The World Boxing Super Series, which has been hindered by serious financial woes and the notion of having top junior welterweight seed Regis Prograis pull out of the tournament, has worked out a deal to keep him in and scheduled his semifinal bout against world titlist Kiryl Relikh.

The bout will take place on April 27 and air on the streaming service DAZN somewhere in the United States to be determined on a card that will also have the bantamweight semifinal fight between world titleholders Nonito Donaire and Zolani Tete, which be in a unification fight, the World Boxing Super Series announced on Sunday.

The semifinals of the second season of the three World Boxing Super Series tournament involving junior welterweight, bantamweight and cruiserweight classes were originally set to begin between January and March. However, Comosa AG, which owns the tournaments, has had financial troubles due to at least one of its investors backing out. The company also has had issues covering purses, bonus money, and other expenses in the quarterfinal stage of the tournament, causing junior welterweight Ivan Baranchyk to pull out of his semifinal against Josh Taylor and Prograis to strongly doing so as well.

“First off, I’m just excited to continue with the tournament,” Prograis said to the media. “It’s the best fighting the best. That’s what boxing should be about. I know Relikh is a tough and strong fighter, and I never look over an opponent, but I have no doubt in my mind that I will win.”

Prograis (23-0, 19 KOs) from Houston, advanced to the semifinals with a unanimous decision win over former lightweight titleholder  Terry Flanagan on Oct. 27 in New Orleans. Relikh (23-2, 19 KOs ) from Belarus, retained his 140-pound belt in a highly contested win over Eduard Troyanovsky in Yokohama, Japan, on Oct. 7.

“I’m looking very much to the semifinal and the quest for the [Muhammad] Ali Trophy,” Relikh told the press. “When I fight the fans will get the money’s worth. I predict just like all of my fights a win for me.”

Donaire (39-5, 25 KOs) dropped weight from featherweight to join the bantamweight field after having not boxed in that division since 2011. He won another bantamweight title in the quarterfinals when he won over Ryan Burnett on Burnett’s neck of the woods in Glasgow, Scotland, on Nov. 3 in a contest in which Burnett could not continue after the fourth round because of a freak injury which was a torn oblique muscle on his right side.

“WBSS has set up such a great opportunity for me to achieve what I’ve always wanted and that’s to be undisputed champion,” Donaire stated to the media. “Since the last fight, I took just a couple weeks off and came right back to the gym. Tete is a formidable opponent and we have been preparing since the last fight. I’m even more excited with it being in the U.S. and won’t waste the opportunity to show the crowd what we’ve been working on.”

Tete (28-3, 21 KOs), retained his title for a third time in the quarterfinals when he traveled to Ekaterinburg, Russia, and outpointed Russia’s Mikhail Aloyan back on Oct. 13.

“Nonito Donaire is a true champion and has had a lot success against my fellow countryman like Moruti Mthalane and Jeffrey Mathebula in the past, but that stops here,” Tete said. “I respect Nonito, but I have a lot of faith in my own boxing ability, and I will come out victorious when we fight.”

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Marquis Johns is a unknown humorist and avid boxing fan. His love for the sweet science goes back to when matches were 15 rounds and has been covering fights since closed-circuit pay-per-views. Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth is not only a quote by Mike Tyson, it's also a pretty good reminder to keep your guard up.

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