$50 million boxing tourney announces quarterfinal matchups
The World Boxing Super Series has announced the quarterfinal matchups for its upcoming tournaments in the super middleweight and cruiserweight divisions.
The organization held a draw for the 16 participating fighters at the Grimaldi Forum in Monte Carlo this weekend.
The $50 million tournament is backed by an international array of promoters including veterans Kalle Sauerland and Richard Schaefer. The field features five current world champions and nine unbeaten boxers.
The top four seeds in each division were allowed to pick their opponents for the quarterfinal bouts, which will begin in September.
In the 168-pound super middleweight tournament, WBA champion George Groves of Britain picked countryman Jamie Cox, and Callum Smith chose Sweden's Erik Skoglund. Germany's Juergen Braehmer will fight unbeaten Rob Brant, and Avni Yildrim will face the winner of Arthur Abraham's bout with Chris Eubank on July 15.
The cruiserweight division is more popular in Europe than in North America, and the tournament features the champions in each of the four major sanctioning bodies.
Olympic gold medalist Oleksandr Usyk, the WBO champion, chose Germany's Marco Huck in an eye-catching matchup between two of the division's top talents. Usyk said he selected the vaunted Huck to entertain his fans.
''This is my wish opponent,'' Huck said. ''People say he is really good, an Olympic and world champion, but we will see when he gets in the ring with me.''
IBF champ and unbeaten Russian Murat Gassiev faces mandatory challenger Krzysztof Wlodarczyk, while Latvia's WBC belt-holder, Mairis Briedis, takes on Cuban ex-heavyweight Mike Perez. Unbeaten WBA champion Yunier Dorticos gets Dmitry Kudrayshov.
The semifinals are scheduled to be held early next year, with the finals in May. The exact dates and venues for the quarterfinal bouts will be selected shortly.
''I really believe this has an opportunity to become the brand in the sport of boxing, the kind of tournament fighters really want to participate in because it will elevate their exposure and it will elevate their careers,'' Schaefer said.