By Alexey Sukachev
Last Friday night at the Rossiya Theatre in Moscow, the quarter-finals were set for Season II of the World Boxing Super Series - with tournaments taking place in the super lightweight and bantamweight divisions.
All sixteen participants in attendance
The bantamweight bracket will feature IBF world champion Emmanuel Rodriguez facing Australia’s unbeaten Jason Maloney. Ryan Burnett, who holds the WBA 'super' title, will be facing former four-weight world champion Nonito Donaire. Naoya Inoue, the WBA ‘regular’ champion, is going up against Juan Carlo Payano, and WBO world champion Zolani Tete takes on Mikhail Aloyan.
BoxingScene.com spoke with Donaire (38-5, 24 KOs) about making the decision to participate in the WBSS and being selected by undefeated WBA champion Ryan Burnett in the first round of the tournament.
BoxingScene: You are moving down in weight for the tournament. You haven’t fought as a bantamweight for almost seven years. Are you still able to make the limit comfortably?
Donaire: I’m sure I can. That’s true that I have been competing in higher weight classes lately. But I’m a diligent and disciplined fighter. I live a healthy life, and I’m not into various bad habits. I’m sure I’ll make the limit successfully to take a part in the Series.
BoxingScene: Ryan Burnett has selected you as an opponent despite having the capability to pick anyone as the first seed. Why is that? Do you consider him to be overconfident? Is he making a mistake by selecting you?
Donaire: You know… not to be considered boastful, but I have a marquee name, I’m a well-known figure and a multi-time champion. Everyone wants a piece of me. I’m no a spring chicken but I’m still capable of some tricks. So, yes, he is making a big mistake (smiles).