Scotland’s Josh Taylor and Belarus’ IBF Champion Ivan Baranchyk continue their quest for the Ali Trophy.
The ‘Tartan Tornado’ and ‘The Beast’ will collide in the 140 lb division semi-final on 18 May at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland.
Taylor (14-0, 12 KOs) and Baranchyk (19-0, 12 KOs) both looked strong on their way to the semi-final against previously unbeaten opponents.
When Baranchyk advanced on October 27 and took home the vacant IBF title, he showed his devastating power against Sweden’s Anthony Yigit forcing a ring doctor stoppage in the seventh round in New Orleans, USA.
The Belarusian’s message about going all the way and win the tournament is clear.
“My nature, effort and my love of boxing will help me get the Ali Trophy,” said Baranchyk.
On November 3rd Taylor impressed when he completely outmaneuvered and eventually stopped USA’s Ryan Martin in round seven at The Hydro in Scotland’s capital.
Taylor is not only fighting for a place in the final, he is also contesting his first ever title shot.
“I am delighted to be fighting for the world title,” said Taylor. “It is a childhood dream to become a world champion. Because I am very confident I will win and do it in fashion.”
The news comes after it had been earlier reported that Baranchyk would drop out of the tournament.
Something does not quite add up here. Less than 24 hours after news broke of Baranchyk withdrawing from the World Boxing Super Series, the tournament organizers announce the date for his Taylor bout.
It is, so far, the only semi-final given a specific date across the three weight divisions the Super Series has in operation this season. Maybe that is a coincidence; maybe it’s a show of strength by organisers who have the fighter under contract.
But there are rumblings that the series itself is facing difficulties following an eye-catching and well-received first season. Even before season two began, there were whispers of tighter purse strings and it seems money is the root of complaints from Baranchyk’s team.
Fans will hope a smooth outcome follows. The Super Series set about offering an easy-to-follow tournament structure with a straight-forward narrative and it achieved just that in season one. In the often complex boxing world of multiple belts, sanctioning bodies, purse bids and promotional stand-offs, such an approach is refreshing.