Stephon Young (18-1-3, 7 KOs) of Saint Louis, Missouri, USA, the WBA No 5 contender and official WBSS super-lightweight reserve replaces Zolani Tete in the bantamweight semi-final against Nonito Donaire due to an injury in the right shoulder of the South African WBO Champion.
Fans in the U.S. and Canada can watch all the Ali Trophy semi-finals LIVE, exclusively on DAZN.
“I was walking in circles for ten minutes eyes full of tears of joy. I felt amazing with the news,“ said Young about receiving the news that he is entering the World Boxing Super Series. “It’s a real dream come true to be in this position.”
Young, also known as the ‘Showstopper’, is now on his way to Lafayette, Louisiana for Saturday’s semi-final at the Cajundome instead of fighting his scheduled fight on the undercard against Daniel Lozano.
“It doesn’t matter who I fight. I’m coming in to win vs anyone I step in there with. My mindset is strong. I have the utmost respect for Nonito. He is a great fighter and from what I see he’s a classy fighter outside the ring as well.
“I feel I will handle the big stage quite well and I rate my chances very, very good.”
The World Boxing Super Series’ format meant Young was already on standby as a reserve and fighting in the co-feature, and as the tournament’s Chief Boxing Officer Kalle Sauerland explains he will now have the golden opportunity to earn a place in the final against either Naoya Inoue or Emmanuel Rodriguez in the final.
”It is very, very unfortunate for Tete, particularly after such a strong belief in going all the way and win the Ali Trophy,” said Sauerland. “Fortunately, we are prepared for such eventualities and the tournament will move forward with our reserve fighter Stephon Young, ranked number five in the world, facing Nonito Donaire in the semi-final in Lafayette this weekend.”
“It is very sad and disappointing for myself and my team that we have to pull out of the fight this Saturday,” said Tete at Wednesday’s press conference in Lafayette. “We were looking forward to the fight, but to fight such an incredible opponent like Nonito Donaire you need to be one hundred percent.
“I hurt myself on my right shoulder on Monday when I was doing pads in the evening. I told my team there is something funny in my shoulder, but that it was nothing serious. The following day I was doing a light session, but I could feel this thing and when I went bed to bed I couldn’t sleep properly. We went to the doctor who discovered tendonitis in my shoulder and he could see it was inflamed.
“I got some treatment, but the shoulder was still painful. I’ve been trying my best since yesterday to recover from the injury, but I couldn’t so we had to the that hard decision.”
The WBO World Bantamweight Champion believed he was on the path of winning the super-lightweight tournament and take home the Ali Trophy.
“I have been working so hard, and I believed in myself and now this thing happens. I know I was capable of winning the tournament and the Muhammad Ali Trophy. It is devastating. My dream is not coming true.”
Tickets starting at $25 for the WBSS Super-Lightweight and Bantamweight Semi-Finals on April 27 at the Cajundome in Lafayette, LA are available from TicketMaster here.
WBSS USA Doubleheader Spectacular: Prograis-Relikh & Donaire-Tete Semi-Finals set for April 27
Regis Prograis & Kiryl Relikh and Nonito Donaire & Zolani Tete continue their quest for the Ali Trophy on April 27 in the USA, with a venue currently being finalised
“We cannot wait to get started with our Season 2 semi-finals and we will announce the venue along with ticket sales in the coming days,” said Kalle Sauerland, Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer.
“All four boxers involved in this spectacular doubleheader impressed in their quarter-finals and these champions will leave it all in the ring to get to the final. Fireworks, guaranteed!”
The sensational doubleheader opens the semi-final stage of the World Boxing Super Series and what a night in place for the fans in the U.S. and around the world:
USA’s Regis Prograis (23-0, 19 KOs) vs Belarus’ Kiryl Relikh (23-2, 19 KOs), a semi-final in the 140lb division and American-Philippine Nonito Donaire (39-5, 25 KOs) vs South Africa’s Zolani Tete (28-3, 21 KOs), a semi-final in the 118lb edition of the tournament.
Relikh defeated Russia’s Eduard Troyanovsky by a unanimous decision, with all judges scoring it 115-113 in favour of ‘Mad Bee’, to reach the semi-final, while tournament No. 1 seed Prograis advanced in more dominant fashion, also via a unanimous decision, over England’s Terry Flanagan. The judges had it 119-108, 118-109, 117-110 for ‘Rougarou’.
“First off I’m just excited to continue with the tournament,” said Prograis. “It’s the best fighting the best. That’s what boxing should be about. I know Relikh is a tough and strong fighter and I never look over an opponent but I have no doubt in my mind that I will win.”
“I’m looking very much to the semi-final and the quest for the Ali Trophy,” said Relikh. “When I fight the fans will get the money’s worth. I predict just like all of my fights a win for me.”
Tete outpointed Russia’s Mikhail Aloyan with scores of 114-110, 114-111 and 114-111 for the ‘Last Born’, when he booked his place in the semi-final. Donaire ‘The Filipino Flash’ won his quarter-final as Northern Ireland’s and No. 1 seed Ryan Burnett was forced to retire from the fight after four rounds of action due to a lower back injury.
“WBSS has set up such a great opportunity for me to achieve what I’ve always wanted and that’s to be Undisputed Champion,” said Donaire. “Since the last fight, I took just a couple weeks off and came right back to the gym. Tete is a formidable opponent and we have been preparing since the last fight. I’m even more excited with it being in the U.S. and won’t waste the opportunity to show the crowd what we’ve been working on.”
“Nonito Donaire is a true champion and has had a lot success against my fellow countryman like Moruti Mthalane and Jeffrey Mathebula in the past, but that stops here,” said Tete. “I respect Nonito, but I have a lot of faith in my own boxing ability and I will come out victorious when we fight.”
Tickets for the hotly-anticipated semi-finals on April 27 will soon go on sale. Fans in the U.S. and Canada can watch the Ali Trophy semi-finals LIVE, exclusively on DAZN.
Fans are encouraged to sign-up for Ticket Alerts to receive an email reminder when tickets can be purchased.