DARK HORSE

Ro­driguez might just be the best in the ban­tamweight WBSS line-up

Boxing News - - Previews -

THE World Box­ing Su­per Se­ries’ (WBSS) ban­tamweight tour­na­ment rolls on this Satur­day (Oc­to­ber 20) at the CFE Arena in Or­lando, Florida, when Em­manuel Ro­driguez, 18-0 (12), de­fends his IBF world ti­tle against manda­tory chal­lenger Ja­son Moloney, 17-0 (14).

Ro­driguez, 26, was fan­cied to lift the WBSS tour­na­ment tro­phy be­fore Naoya Inoue an­nounced him­self as a ban­tamweight to be feared with chill­ing knock­outs of Jamie Mcdon­nell and Juan Car­los Payano. How­ever, against Paul But­ler in May, Ro­driguez was so smooth, so com­posed, so spite­ful, and seemed to pos­sess the an­ti­dote to any of the styles he’d po­ten­tially come up against.

If he can put these at­tributes to use against Moloney - and ex­pect him to - there could be a num­ber of peo­ple leav­ing the Inoue band­wagon and get­ting back on the gifted Puerto Ri­can’s.

It’s not only the WBSS ban­tamweights who get some shine in Or­lando this week­end. The cruis­er­weights, too, will look to pick up where sea­son one left off when Yu­nier Dor­ti­cos, 22-1 (21), the beaten semi-fi­nal­ist of the first sea­son, bat­tles Ma­teusz Master­nak, 41-4 (28), in a quar­ter-fi­nal matchup.

Cuban Dor­ti­cos, a boxer who can punch, ul­ti­mately suc­cumbed to Mu­rat Gassiev in his first run at WBSS cruis­er­weight glory, but cer­tainly did his rep­u­ta­tion no harm dur­ing the fight. He matched Gassiev ev­ery step of the way be­fore the Rus­sian’s power and strength brought an end to pro­ceed­ings in the 12th round.

Master­nak, on the other hand, has won five fights on the spin since los­ing to Tony Bellew in 2015 and comes off a sixth-round vic­tory against Youri Kayem­bre Kalenga, a man it took Dor­ti­cos 10 rounds to stop. Even so, Dor­ti­cos can take the de­ci­sion.

Photo: AC­TION IM­AGES/AN­DREW COULDRIDGE

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