The Big Question: Bantamweight WBSS - who wins?
Several participants are still to be confirmed, but that hasn't stopped Marcus Bellinger, Martin Chesnutt, Callum Rudge and Daniel Morley from making their early picks for the WBSS bantamweight tournament...
Presuming he enters, then it's Naoya Inoue hands down. I don't do P4P lists but Inoue - along with Vasyl Lomachenko, Terence Crawford and Errol Spence - is among the best fighters on the planet and the WBSS is the ideal platform for him to prove his elite status. A good young Filipino fighter Reymart Gaballo, who's sparred with Inoue, Shinsuke Yamanaka and Guillermo Rigondeaux was asked who hit the hardest and his answer was: "Inoue by a mile", so I highly doubt that he'll have any issues with his power transferring up in weight. - Marcus Bellinger
With only three confirmed participants it’s easier to commit to one fighter, even though the three confirmed are world title holders – a great sign for the standard of the tournament. Ryan Burnett can box, but does he have the power? From the little I’ve seen of Emmanuel Rodriguez, he seems to have the punch to go with the skills. However, I’ll also back Zolani Tete at this stage, based on height and reach advantages, along with bona fide one-punch knockout power.
With regards to the Naoya Inoue vs Jamie McDonnell fight on 25 May, of course Inoue is a proven threat at world level, but this is his bantamweight debut and his power may not continue to transfer as he climbs divisions. Also, McDonnell hasn’t lost a fight in more than 10 years, has never been stopped, has good ‘away from home’ wins on his CV, and will have a significant height advantage, so I wouldn’t write him off. Ideally their fight is competitive and they’re both added to the WBSS line-up.
It’s a shame skilful Luis Nery couldn’t stay away from the buffet as he would be a fantastic addition to this series, and I’m sure many people would like to see him given a stern test.
As for the WBSS in general, ideally the two current tournament finals will be concluded soon with the fighters who’ve earned their place. The prize money must be available to the organisers as they’re attracting top talent, and for boxers looking to enhance their profile this series is delivering. - Martin Chesnutt
Looking at the three competitors announced so far, I would favour Tete to win the tournament, although having watched Rodriguez take apart Paul Butler on the Bellew sv Haye 2 undercard, I would have him as a very close second choice.
The wildcard in all this is Inoue. Should he beat Jamie McDonnell convincingly, it would be hard to pick against ‘The Monster’. Whatever happens in this fight I would like to see McDonnell given entry to the tournament as the Doncaster man gives anyone in that tournament a hard night's work. - Callum Rudge
Out of the three competitors I have seen so far I would have to favour Tete. I will be honest, I don't know an awful lot about Rodriguez, and although I highly rate Burnett's skills and determination I just can't see them being enough to topple the South African. There have been numerous rumours that Inoue will be entering the tournament if and - in my opinion - when he defeats McDonnell. Inoue is an excellent fighter, his skills place him towards the very pinnacle of the pound-for-pound list - he just needs elite opposition to get him there. As things stand at the momentI would pick Inoue to win the tournament with Tete as runner-up (depending on the draw of course). It will be interesting to see which other fighters are entered and which other weight classes will be involved in this next edition of the WBSS. - Daniel Morley