By Keith Idec
Top-seeded Ryan Burnett picked unseeded Nonito Donaire as his opponent Friday for the World Boxing Super Series’ bantamweight tournament.
Burnett made his selection as part of the of the WBSS “Draft Gala” at Rossiya Theatre in Moscow. Northern Ireland’s Burnett (19-0, 9 KOs) will defend his WBA “super” bantamweight title against Donaire (38-5, 24 KOs), a former four-division champion from San Leandro, California.
Second-seeded Naoya Inoue then chose unseeded Juan Carlos Payano as his foe in the quarterfinals. Japan’s Inoue (16-0, 14 KOs) is set to defend the WBA’s world bantamweight championship against the Dominican Republic’s Payano (20-1, 9 KOs).
Once Burnett selected Donaire and Inoue chose Payano, Zolani Tete (27-3, 21 KOs) was left to pick comparatively inexperienced Mikhail Aloyan (4-0) as his opponent because the fourth 118-pound quarterfinal was predetermined due to a mandated championship match. South Africa’s Tete and Russia’s Aloyan will fight for Tete’s WBO bantamweight championship.
The fourth WBSS bantamweight quarterfinal will match IBF champ Emmanuel Rodriguez (18-0, 12 KOs) against Jason Moloney (17-0, 14 KOs). Australia’s Moloney is the mandatory challenger for the title owned by Puerto Rico’s Rodriguez.
The dates and venues for the World Boxing Super Series’ 118-pound tournament haven’t been announced.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.