Ivan Baranchyk Done With World Boxing Super Series, Tournament Still Announces His Next Fight:

Current IBF junior welterweight champion Ivan Baranchyk has decided to withdraw from the World Boxing Super Series

Dave McWater, the manager for IBF junior welterweight champion Ivan Baranchyk, told ESPN that his fighter is withdrawing from the WBSS over finances, lack of communication between him and tournament officials and the scheduling of the semifinal bouts.

Originally, the semifinals for the three tournaments -- one at bantamweight, junior welterweight and cruiserweight -- were supposed to take place sometime in early 2019 but not a single semifinal fight has a date or venue announced. The tournament was reportedly delayed due to tournament organizers having financial problems, some of which include not paying certain fighters their bonuses on time for their quarterfinal bouts.

"We are definitely pulling out. Ivan was supposed to fight [Josh] Taylor in Glasgow [Scotland] in late May. That was what I was hearing, but they haven't spoken to any of us, not me, not [co-promoter] Lou [DiBella]," McWater said.

ESPN reached out to Comosa AG, who organized the tournament, and was sent the following statement:

"We have not received any notice of Ivan Baranchyk pulling out of the tournament. Ivan Baranchyk was paid a very large sum to challenge for a vacant title and the WBSS and its shareholders have invested hugely into its brand. Its contracts are watertight and any failure to meet them will be met with the very hardest of consequences. This applies to all fighters and also to promoters, managers and agents alike."

Just less than 24 hours after the ESPN report, the World Boxing Super Series announced that Baranchyk would face Josh Taylor on May 18 at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland. Although one would consider the timing of the announcement and the report being so close a coincidence (Kalle Sauerland said the week prior that semifinal bouts would be announced in the coming days), but it is suspicious timing when one also considers the fact that no other tournament bout wouldn’t get announced until several days later.

In addition to the Taylor vs. Baranchyk fight being given a date and venue, Comosa AG released a statement on Twitter that states the following:

“WBSS has built in one year a huge brand in the boxing world and attracted the best talent to its series and is committed to bringing Season 2 to the next level.

Rest assured that WBSS boxing contracts are watertight and WBSS is determined to enforce any failure to comply wherever and whenever it occurs and whatever it takes.

This directed not only to all fighters but also to any all promoters, managers and agents as well as to third parties of any kind and wherever they are that attempt to tortiously interfere with our agreements or the running of the tournament.”

The problems are now reportedly even extending to Regis Prograis, the No. 1 seed in the entire 140-pound tournament. According to Mike Coppinger, there is uncertainty surrounding Prograis’ participation in the tournament. As it stands, organizers are still moving ahead with his planned WBA title fight against Kiryl Relikh, potentially set to take place in April in Prograis’ hometown of New Orleans. If the fight does indeed happen, a potential co-main event for that fight would be the WBA “Super” and WBO bantamweight title unification between Nonito Donaire and Zolani Tete, which is a WBSS 118-pound tournament semifinal bout.

Although the tournament is a great concept for getting several big fights done in boxing, the last six months or so proved that there is no better time to be a promotional or broadcast free agent than at any other time in history with all the money being thrown around from various networks and boxing companies to secure these free agents.

With boxers being tied down to the World Boxing Super Series, they are missing out on potential multi-million dollar contracts to fight on either Fox, Showtime or ESPN. The problem with the WBSS is that if they don’t put out fights on a regular basis, then any momentum gained would be wasted. Even now, the tournament has generated close to zero buzz, save for the Naoya Inoue knockout win that took place last year in the bantamweight quarterfinals and the junior welterweight quarterfinals in its entirety. Other than that, the boxing world isn’t really discussing the WBSS, meaning it has to get work its way up to relevance once more.

But because the tournament is still solving its issues and has yet to announce the rest of the semifinal bouts, it’s hard to expect anyone to be excited for the tournament if the future is unclear.

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