By Gregory Doyle
This Saturday marks one of the biggest nights in Glasgow’s boxing history as the World Boxing Super Series rolls into town. The WBSS was put together to determine the number one fighter in its chosen weight division and award the winner with the prestigious Mohammed Ali Trophy. On Saturday it brings its latest season to the SSE Hydro which presents the Bantamweights and the Super-Lightweights.
A stacked card from top to bottom is topped by Edinburgh Super-Lightweight Josh Taylor (13-0) as he takes on Cleveland Ohio’s unbeaten Ryan Martin (22-0). Taylor is coming off the biggest win of his, so far short, career against former WBC Super-Lightweight Champion Viktor Postol will know this tournament is a huge opportunity for him to arrive on the world title scene and has promised that ‘no-one’ will beat him at the Hydro.
Martin, a bit of an unknown quantity to the general boxing public, brings a sparkling record and, like Taylor, has the opportunity of a lifetime to catapult his career. Martin also comes off the biggest win of his career outpointing former Amir Khan conquerer Breidis Prescott over eight rounds in May. This encounter for Taylor’s WBC Silver Title is sure to be an intriguing fight, one you expect both fighters to find that extra 5% due to the magnitude of the event. The winner meets Belarus powerhouse Ivan Baranchyk in the Semi final. For me, Taylor gets Martin out of there in the mid to late rounds but I expect Martin to present some sticky patches for Taylor early on.
Another wonderful fight on the card is between Belfast’s WBA Super World Bantamweight Champion, Ryan Burnett (19-0) and former four-weight world champion ‘The Filipino Flash’ Nonito Donaire (38-5). Burnett, the former undefeated ‘unified’ bantamweight champion, makes the second defence of the WBA version which he won in a nip and tuck battle with tough Kazakhstan man Zhanat Zhakiyanov. The Belfast man appears to be going from going from strength to strength under the guidance of former David Haye mentor Adam Booth and will need to in a seriously talented weight division.
Donaire, who really needs no introduction, was last seen losing a unanimous decision to another Belfast man in Carl Frampton for the interim WBO featherweight championship. However, this time Donaire has come back down two divisions to his beloved 118lbs and says that he is super focused to once again rise to the pinnacle of boxing. The winner of this fight meets Frank Warren promoted WBO World Bantamweight Champion, Zolani Tete. Again for me, this fight is sure to be entertaining and one that could catch fire early. A real graduation test for Burnett and one I expect him to come through possibly with a few rough patches. I lean towards Burnett wide unanimous decision.
The best of the rest on the card is a vacant British Super-Middleweight title fight between two undefeated fighters in Zach Parker (16-0) and Darryl Williams (17-0). The Lord Lonsdale Belt normally brings out the very best in fighters and this one could potentially steal the show. Both fighters will go in with a lot of confidence and sure they can put their names down in British Boxing history books.
A truly tremendous event and one which is not to be missed.