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Yunier Dorticos joins cruiserweight class for World Boxing Super Series

Cruiserweight world titlist Yunier Dorticos has joined the field for the forthcoming eight-man World Boxing Super Series tournament, organizers announced Wednesday.

Dorticos is the fourth cruiserweight to enter the competition, and with half the field set, it already looks strong. Earlier this month, the first three cruiserweight entrants were announced: world titleholders Murat Gassiev (24-0, 17 KOs) and Mairis Briedis (22-0, 18 KOs) as well as former titleholder Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (53-3-1, 37 KOs).

Earlier this week, Dorticos (21-0, 20 KOs) was elevated by the WBA from interim titleholder to its secondary titlist when injured titlist Beibut Shumenov vacated his 200-pound belt.

While awaiting the delayed mandatory bout with Shumenov, Dorticos, 31, a Cuban defector fighting out of Miami, has been out of action since winning the interim title by 10th-round knockout of Youri Kalenga in a blazing fight in May 2016.

Now he is in the tournament and is looking forward to the exposure he will get and the opportunity to potentially unify three belts.

"I love the idea of the elimination tournament," Dorticos said. "It will be a hell of a ride, but I will come out on top. After the World Boxing Super Series, the whole world will know my name. I can't wait to add the WBC and IBF belts to my collection. I will enter the tournament with one belt and leave it with three.

"On top of that, I will take home the Muhammad Ali Trophy and a lot of money. Really it does not get any better than this, not for the fans and certainly not for us fighters."

In March, Comosa AG announced plans for two eight-man single-elimination tournaments in which 16 fighters will divvy up $50 million in prize money, with the winner of each tournament also receiving the Muhammad Ali Trophy. Comosa AG enlisted Richard Schaefer and Kalle Sauerland to promote the cards and decided that the first two tournaments will take place in the cruiserweight and super middleweight divisions.

The tournaments are supposed to kick off in September with quarterfinal matches in each weight class, with the semifinals taking place in early 2018 and the finals scheduled for May 2018.

Schaefer was happy to see top fighters join the tournament field and believes more will enter.

"Right now, we have got three undefeated cruiserweight world champions plus a top-ranked contender who is a former world champion," Schaefer said. "There are four more spots to be filled in the cruiserweight competition. We will make sure they will be exciting names and fighters the fans want to see."

The draw for each tournament is supposed to take place on a date to be determined in July in Monte Carlo, Monaco. In each weight class, the four top seeds will select their quarterfinal opponent from the four unseeded boxers on a live TV show.

The super middleweight field is still a work in progress, as so far only world titleholder George Groves (26-3, 19 KOs), 29, of England, has entered, doing so shortly after he won a vacant title May 27 by knocking out former titlist Fedor Chudinov in the sixth round in Sheffield, England.