Another top contender in boxing’s 118-pound division is entering the World Boxing Super Series.
First reported by ESPN, Juan Carlos Payano has been announced as the next entrant in the WBSS bantamweight tournament, making him the sixth entrant in the tournament.
“I am very happy to join the tournament, ecstatic to be very honest. Looking forward to regaining my championship positions. It is great to see the best fighting the best and in the end being recognized as truly the best in the division,” Payano said in the press release.
For those wanting to keep track, here are the list of announced participants in the tournament:
- IBF champion Emmanuel Rodriguez
- IBF mandatory challenger Jason Moloney
- WBO champion Zolani Tete
- WBA "super" champion Ryan Burnett
- Former bantamweight world champion Nonito Donaire
- Former bantamweight world champion Juan Carlos Payano
WBA “regular” champion Naoya Inoue is expected to participate in the tournament after Inoue defeated Jamie McDonnell earlier this year to win the belt. The World Boxing Super Series draft gala will take place on July 22, the day after the WBSS cruiserweight tournament finals takes place and a new undisputed cruiserweight champion is crowned. The only matchup that has been announced for the WBSS bantamweight tournament before the draft gala is Rodriguez vs. Moloney for the IBF title as Moloney was already Rodriguez’s mandatory challenger.
Payano previously held the WBA “super” and IBO bantamweight titles until he lost the belts to Rau’Shee Warren in 2016. Payano would then win his next three fights and pick up the WBO Intercontinental bantamweight title. Payano is the No. 1 contender for the WBO title held by Tete, but it is unknown if Tete vs. Payano will be a fight made for the quarterfinals.