Bob Arum Claims None of His Fighters Going to WBSS!

Is the WBSS Coming to Light Heavyweight?

Bob Arum, Sergey Kovalev, WBSS logo
From left to bottom right: Bob Arum, Sergey Kovalev, WBSS logo

Bob Arum withholds his champions from a possible light heavyweight tournament!

Top Rank head honcho Bob Arum has nixed the idea of a World Boxing Super Series crowning a new undisputed champion at 175lbs.

Rumors began early June when WBO champion Sergey Kovalev told industry sources he was in talks regarding a WBSS tournament.

Other contenders would also include WBA champion Dmitri Bivol, WBC champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk, and IBF champion Artur Beterbiev.

Fans immediately were on board because the idea is outstanding. The division is on fire with four very good champions all fighting for divisional supremacy.

Unfortunately, it appeared anyone who was skeptical about the reality of it taking place was right.

When speaking with the media, Arum was very clear that he is not lending his fighters out to fight in a tournament on another platform.

Arum has exclusive promotional rights to champions Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Artur Beterbiev. His fighters fight on ESPN, while the WBSS has a deal with DAZN.

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As for the catalyst of the rumor, it’s unclear at this time what Kovalev’s contractual situation is. He’s historically been promoted by Main Events and Kathy Duva.

Also, he most recently regained his title avenging a loss to Eleider Alvarez on a Top Rank card on ESPN. Alvarez had signed a deal with Top Rank prior to that fight, but Kovalev was a network free agent.

I would note at the time of this writing, Top Rank added Sergey Kovalev to their website as one of their fighters in a recent update.

There was always potential that Main Event and Top Rank brokered an agreement to showcase Kovalev on ESPN, much like Zanfer promotions and Top Rank have done for junior lightweight champion Miguel Berchelt.

All the same, it’s unclear at this time.

As for WBA champion Bivol, he would have no issues joining the tournament field.

He recently signed a deal with DAZN-affiliated promotion Matchroom, and Eddie Hearn has no issues sending his fighters into the tournament field.

Although, would the tournament hold the same type of value without all four of the champions?

Fans were instantly excited at just the thought of it taking place, but unfortunately so much of the 175lbs talent pool has ties to Top Rank and ESPN. So, even if it did take place, it’s unlikely the tournament would crown a divisional king like its initial cruiserweight tournament did.

Nevertheless, it was fun to think about while it lasted, but ultimately it wasn’t to be. With that said, if the tournament does take place and it has 2 of the 4 major titles, it will still be worthwhile in my book!

By: Tanner Gill

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