The final two slots in the eight-man World Boxing Super Series junior welterweight tournament that begins this fall were filled on Wednesday with Ryan “Blue Chip” Martin and former lightweight world titlist Terry Flanagan, tournament organizer Comosa AG announced.
“I’m very happy to compete in the World Boxing Super Series and look forward to proving myself against the other top fighters in my division,” Martin said.
His entrance into the field comes as no surprise. He has been on board since he easily outpointed Breidis Prescott over eight rounds in a May 5 tune-up fight, though he had not been officially announced yet.
Martin (22-0, 12 KOs), 25, of Cleveland, is trained by Abel Sanchez and is a stablemate of unified middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin.
Each of the competitors will not only vie for world title belts but also for the Muhammad Ali Trophy that will go the winner.
“I think Ali is the greatest to be in the ring, so fighting for the Ali trophy is something special for me,” Martin said. “It would be a great accomplishment to win the tournament. My height and my speed will be too much for the other boxers in the tournament.”
Flanagan (33-1, 13 KOs), a 29-year-old southpaw from England, vacated his lightweight belt and moved up to junior welterweight in June, when he lost a split decision for a vacant 140-pound world title to American Maurice Hooker on June 9 in Flanagan’s hometown of Manchester.
When Hooker declined an invitation to the tournament, Flanagan accepted the spot.
“I’m excited to enter this tournament with some of the best fighters in my division,” Flanagan said. “I’m expecting some tough fights, but that’s exactly what I’m in this business for.”
Promoter Kalle Sauerland, the chief boxing officer of Comosa AG, said he was pleased with the strength of the field with the additions of Martin and Flanagan.
“Martin is among the rising stars of boxing in the U.S., and with his aggressive, entertaining power-punching style he is an exciting component for Season II of the Ali Trophy. Flanagan is an explosive and very confident athlete with plenty of talent,” Sauerland said.
The other six fighters in the field include world titleholder Kiryl Relikh (22-2, 19 KOs), of Belarus, and former world titlist Eduard Troyanovsky (27-1, 24 KOs), of Russia, who will meet in a mandatory bout in one of the quarterfinals; Russia’s Ivan Baranchyk (18-0, 11 KOs) and Anthony Yigit (21-0-1, 7 KOs), of Sweden, who will meet for a vacant world title in another quarterfinal; Regis Prograis (22-0, 19 KOs), a southpaw who fights out of Houston; and Scotland’s Josh Taylor (13-0, 11 KOs).
The World Boxing Super Series will also have two other eight-man tournaments this fall in its second season, at junior welterweight and in another division to be announced. On Friday night, at the Rossiya Theatre in Moscow, on the eve of the final of the first season’s cruiserweight tournament, in which Oleksandr Usyk (14-0, 11 KOs) and Murat Gassiev (26-0, 19 KOs) will fight for the undisputed world title, there will be a gala at which the brackets and quarterfinal bouts will be revealed for the bantamweight and junior welterweight tournaments.
Four seeded boxers in each division will pick their foes from the four unseeded boxers. Certain seeds have mandatory title defenses that are preset as quarterfinals.