Belfast world champion Ryan Burnett signs up for WSBB
BELFAST’S Ryan Burnett could be on a collision course with Zolani Tete after both bantamweight kings were confirmed as part of the next World Boxing Super Series (WBSS).
WBA belt holder Burnett has long been linked with a showdown against the rangy South African, whose last two fights have been in Belfast on the undercard of Carl Frampton-headlined shows.
Representing rival promotional companies has proved a major stumbling block – Burnett is with Matchroom while Tete is aligned to Frank Warren – but with both in the mix for the WBSS, that showdown moves a massive step closer.
The full cast list for the eight man competition is set to be nailed down in the coming weeks, but an already exciting line-up also includes Puerto Rico’s Emmanuel Rodriguez – so impressive in victory over Liverpool’s Paul Butler at the weekend.
Japan’s Naoya Inoue, known as ‘The Monster’, will also be involved should he defeat Jamie McDonnell – whose name is also in the frame - when they meet on May 25.
But for Burnett the WBSS represents both the most lucrative and challenging opportunity of his promising career.
The draw for the competition will take place in July, and it is understood Burnett's first fight is likely to be at Belfast’s SSE Arena in September.
"I have always wanted to unify the world titles against the best opposition out there," said the 25-year-old, who is undefeated in 19 professional outings.
"I proved this in my last three fights, and now the WBSS allows me to continue my dream against the other champions in the bantamweight division."
"Competition at the highest level is any fighter's dream," added his trainer and manager Adam Booth.
"The WBSS is providing this at bantamweight; Ryan's ready to face all champions and challengers."
Discussing the second season of the WBSS - the finals of the super-middleweight and cruiserweight divisions are scheduled for this summer - competition promoter Kalle Sauerland revealed Burnett could yet also end up fighting in the US.
"We're very much going towards America as well," said Sauerland.
"[Matchroom and Warren] didn't really mention each other. There's pride involved, but both sides wanted to fight each other. It's a draw system and they'll obviously both be seeded, so they won't be fighting in the first round."