By Jake Donovan
The World Boxing Super Series super lightweight bracket is finally ready to move forward in its entirety.
Ivan Baranchyk was the last remaining holdout among the six scheduled semifinal bouts, but has now agreed to move forward with his super lightweight title defense versus Josh Taylor. The bout will take place May 18 in Taylor’s hometown of Glasgow, Scotland, atop a show which also includes the bantamweight semifinals pairing between unbeaten titlist Emmanuel Rodriguez and undefeated pound-for-pound entrant Naoya Inoue.
There existed concern over Baranchyk’s involvement, as his management team threatened to bolt due to lingering financial issues from the boxer’s quarterfinal round win over Anthony Yigit. Through legal action and—BoxingScene.com has learned from two sources—a hefty, undisclosed settlement, all previous concerns have been alleviated and with all parties now prepared to move forward.
“I look forward to fighting Josh Taylor in the [World Boxing Super Series] semifinal on May 18, 2019 in Glasgow,” Baranchyk (19-0, 12KOs) announced through his verified social media account.
The unbeaten boxer from Russia claimed the vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) 140-pound title in a 7th round stoppage of previously undefeated Yigit last October. Their bout came as part of the first wave of WBSS matches, most of which were met with favorable reviews but whose aftermath drew concerns of an outright cancellation.
Several boxers took to the media in expressing outrage and threatening legal action over Comosa AG, the tournament overseer failing to honor contractually guaranteed purses. Among them was Baranchyk, the lone boxer among the 12 semifinalists who threatened to withdraw altogether from competition, even amidst the threat of ensuing legal action.
That stance softened significantly over threat of his being stripped of the IBF title, with the sanctioning body hosting a conference call with Baranchyk’s team and Comosa AG earlier this month in hopes of resolving the matter.
Despite the possibility of being benched, Baranchyk maintained his professionalism by remaining hard at work in the gym in preparation for any scenario. He even made the command decision to seek new leadership, cutting ties with former trainer Pedro Diaz and heading to Hollywood’s Wild Card Gym where he is now werking with Hall of Fame cornerman Freddie Roach.
The decision to stay ready rather than having to get ready proved wise. With news of resolution of all matters between his management team and tournament handlers, he can now proceed with peace of mind heading into the biggest fight of his carer.
So, too, can his challenger.
“I’m glad that [Baranchyk] is coming Glasgow to fight,” noted Taylor (14-0, 12KOs), a 2012 Olympian for Great Britain whom advanced to the semifinals following a one-sided 7th round stoppage of previously unbeaten Ryan Martin last November. “Can’t wait to rip the belt off you & send you homeward to think again.”
By the time the two collide, the finalist waiting in the wings will have long been revealed. On the other side of the bracket, unbeaten contender and 140-pound tournament top seed Regis Prograis takes on defending World Boxing Association (WBA) titlist Kiryl Relikh on April 27 in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox