The much-anticipated World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) launches tomorrow.
The WBSS tournament will commence this Saturday in Berlin, with the first quarter-final match as World Boxing Organization (WBO) Cruiserweight World Champion Oleksandr "The Cat" Usyk (12-0, 10 KOs) defends his world title against former world cruiserweight champion Marco "Kapt'n" Huck (40-4-1, 27 KOs) in the 12-round main event.
The inaugural season of the World Boxing Super Series will feature two weight classes (cruiserweight & super middleweight), 16 fighters, and a total of 14 main events. An expert panel invited the world's best boxers to compete, namely the top 15-ranked fighters of the four major federations: WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO. In each weight class, eight boxers will battle it out in a bracket-style elimination tournament, with four quarterfinals (September & October 2017), two semifinals (January & February 2018) and one championship final (May 2018).
World Boxing Super Series is a new revolutionary bracket-style elimination tournament featuring the world`s best boxers and a total of $50 million in prize money. The knockout format of the competition will see the best boxers ultimately compete for the Muhammad Ali Trophy, the greatest prize in boxing. The tournament is organized by newly-founded Comosa AG, a Swiss-registered company with principal owners Highlight Event & Entertainment, Modern Times Group and Team Sauerland. Comosa AG is working in partnership with boxers, promoters and managers around the world, and in alignment with the four major world boxing federations, to create a new global platform for the sport.
Usyk, 30, is the No. 1 WSBB seed and consensus pre-tournament favorite. The Ukrainian is a two-time Olympian who struck gold at the 2012 Olympics in London. The powerful southpaw captured the WBO cruiserweight world title September 17, 2016, taking a 12-round unanimous decision in Poland from the previously undefeated, defending champion Krzystof Glowacki (26-0). Usyk has made two successful world title defenses, stopping challenger Thabiso Mchunu (17-2) last December in the ninth round, and winning a 12-round unanimous decision this past April from Michael Hunter (12-0).
"Marco Huck is the most famous and prestigious opponent I could have chosen," Usyk said. "He has accomplished most title defenses in the history of the cruiserweight division, an extremely experienced man. Huck does not fear anything or anyone and goes for the victory through the fire. He marches constantly forward and tries to determine his fights by all means.
Serbia-born Huck has two distinct advantages over Usyk: fighting at home in Berlin as well as being much more experienced against world-class opponents. The 32-year-old Huck is 13-4-1 (6 KOs) in world title fights and he has five victories against former or present world champions.
One of Huck's four career losses as a professional, however, is to Glowacki, who lost the WBO title he won in 2015, by knocking out Huck in the 11th round, to Usyk a year ago.
In the 10-round co-featured event, former WBO International and World Youth cruiserweight champion Noel Gevor (22-1, 10 KOs), fighting out of Germany by way of Armenia, takes on American Isiah Thomas (15-1, 6 KOs) in the WBSS Cruiserweight Substitution Fight.
Undefeated German middleweight prospect Patrick Wojcicki (9-0, 4 KOs) faces Frenchman Fouard El Massoudi (14-9, 1 KO) in an eight-round bout, while German super middleweight Denis Radovan (5-0, 2 KOs) meets Yasnn Binanga Abogho (6-1-1,) and German light heavyweight Leon Bunn (5-0, 5 KOs) squares off with Tomasz "Temera" Gargula (18-7-1, 5 KOs), of Poland, in a pair of six-round matches.