Russian prospect Mikhail Aloyan on Tuesday filled the final slot available in the eight-man World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament that begins this fall.
While the other competitors are either world titleholders, former titleholders or top contenders, the 29-year-old Aloyan (4-0, 4 KOs) was welcomed into the tournament based on his tremendous amateur resume and professional potential.
"I am glad and proud that I have an opportunity to participate in this tournament," said Aloyan, who won two world amateur titles, a European amateur title and a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics.
He turned pro in May 2017 in a scheduled 10-round fight and boxed in a 12-rounder in his second bout. He has defeated unbeaten opponents in his past two fights who were a combined 27-0-2.
His competition will increase dramatically in the World Boxing Super Series in which he could potentially unify three of the major 118-pound world titles and win the Muhammad Ali Trophy that will be awarded to the tournament winner.
"Ali is the hero of all boxers in the world, so to fight for his trophy is a great honor," Aloyan said. "I believe I am faster than the other opponents in the tournament."
The rest of the field includes world titleholders Ryan Burnett (19-0, 9 KOs), 26, of Northern Ireland, Zolani Tete (27-3, 21 KOs), a 30-year-old southpaw from South Africa and Emmanuel Rodriguez (18-0, 12 KOs), 25, of Puerto Rico, and former four-division titleholder Nonito Donaire (38-5, 24 KOs), 35, a Philippines native fighting out of Las Vegas; Australia's Jason Moloney (17-0, 14 KOs), 27, who is Rodriguez's mandatory challenger; Japanese star Naoya Inoue (16-0, 14 KOs), 25, who has won titles in three weight classes and holds a secondary bantamweight belt; and former bantamweight world titleholder Juan Carlos Payano (20-1, 9 KOs), 34, of the Dominican Republic.
The World Boxing Super Series will also have two other eight-man tournaments this fall in its second season, at junior welterweight and in another division to be announced.
On Friday night in Moscow, on the eve of the final of the first season's cruiserweight tournament, in which Oleksandr Usyk (14-0, 11 KOs) and Murat Gassiev (26-0, 19 KOs) will fight for the undisputed world title, there will be a gala at which the brackets and quarterfinal bouts will be revealed for the bantamweight and junior welterweight tournaments.
Four seeded boxers in each division will pick their foes from the four unseeded boxers. Certain seeds have mandatory title defenses that are pre-set as quarterfinals.
World Boxing Super Series officials finally secured a broadcast outlet for the cruiserweight final this week. It will stream live on the KlowdTV service.
All three second-season tournaments will be shown on the new DAZN all-sports streaming service, which is scheduled to launch in the United States on Sept. 10.