With only four professional fights under his belt, Russian bantamweight Mikhail Aloyan has by far the least experience of any of the participants in the World Boxing Super Series tournaments, be it the two that took place in the recently competed first season or the three just getting started in the second season.
But Aloyan, who only turned pro in May 2017, was a standout amateur. He was a two-time world amateur champion, won a European amateur title and claimed a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics.
By going into the single-elimination, eight-man tournament, he is clearly looking to move quickly a la pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko, who fought for a world title in his second pro fight and won his first world title in his third fight.
Like Lomachenko, Aloyan (4-0, 4 KOs), a 30-year-old southpaw, has been given no favors in terms of his early-career matchmaking, but he is getting a world title opportunity in his fifth pro bout.
"I know it's only my fifth fight as a professional, but I have huge experience as an amateur and that helps me a lot. It's a big opportunity to fight in the WBSS, and my goal is to win the (Muhammad Ali) trophy." Mikhael Aloyan
Aloyan's World Boxing Super series opener will come in the quarterfinals when he challenges highly regarded world titleholder and big puncher Zolani Tete (27-3, 21 KOs). They are scheduled to meet in the main event of a tournament doubleheader on Saturday (DAZN, 1 p.m. ET) on Aloyan's turf at the Ekaterinburg Expo in Ekaterinburg, Russia.
Aloyan said he is relying on his deep amateur pedigree to see him through against a tough foe.
"I have watched Tete's fights, but I do not want to let him distract me too much. I'd better concentrate on my own goals," Aloyan said. "I know it's only my fifth fight as a professional, but I have huge experience as an amateur and that helps me a lot. It's a big opportunity to fight in the WBSS, and my goal is to win the [Muhammad Ali] trophy."
Tete, a 30-year-old southpaw from South Africa, will be making his third defense of the 118-pound belt he won last year.
The Tete-Aloyan winner will advance to the semifinals to face the winner of the quarterfinal fight between world titleholder Ryan Burnett (19-0, 9 KOs) and former four-division world titleholder Nonito Donaire (38-5, 24 KOs), 35, who meet on Nov. 3 on Burnett's turf in Glasgow, Scotland.
Saturday's co-featured fight will kick off the second season of cruiserweight tournament action less than three months after Oleksandr Usyk shut out Murat Gassiev to win the first season to become the undisputed cruiserweight world champion.
There are no cruiserweight world titles involved in the second season -- at least not yet -- but the opening quarterfinal matches the Floyd Mayweather-promoted Andrew Tabiti (16-0, 13 KOs), 29, a Chicago native fighting out of Las Vegas, with Ruslan Fayfer (23-0, 16 KOs), 27, of Russia.
While Tabiti owns wins against known commodities such as former world titlist Steve Cunningham and Lateef Kayode in his past two fights, Fayfer has a more modest resume but the home country advantage.
"Tabiti has no losses, he has good footwork and defense. He has a lot of experience," Fayfer said. "But we have our plan and we are working to realize it in the ring. I don't pay attention to his KO statistics. My goal is to make sure Season 2 of the WBSS will be as awesome as the first in the cruiserweight edition, and I want to win the Muhammad Ali Trophy."
The Tabiti-Fayfer winner will move to the semis to face the winner of the quarterfinal between former world titlist and first-season semifinalist Mairis Briedis (24-1, 18 KOs) and Noel Mikaelian (23-1, 10 KOs), who meet on Nov. 10 in Chicago.
The second season of the World Boxing Super Series kicked off last week in Yokohama, Japan, with quarterfinal bouts in the bantamweight and junior welterweight tournaments.