Late last year, Evander Holyfield’s Real Deal Boxing promotional company and the WBC announced that they would team up to stage an eight-man single-elimination tournament in the welterweight division.
On Monday, they announced the participants in the Jose Sulaiman World Invitational, named after the late longtime WBC president, and that the first bouts of the tournament will take place on April 27 at a site to be determined.
Entering the tournament are former junior welterweight world title challenger Felix Diaz (19-2, 9 KOs), a 2008 Olympic gold medalist from the Dominican Republic, South Africa’s Chris van Heerden (25-2-1, 12 KOs), Fredrick Lawson (26-1, 21 KOs) of Ghana, Russian prospect Radzhab Butaev (8-0, 6 KOs), Brad Solomon (27-1, 9 KOs) of Douglasville, Georgia, Timo Schwarzkopf (18-1, 10 KOs) of Germany, Puerto Rico’s Derrieck Cuevas (16-0-1, 13 KOs) and Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (13-1-1, 6 KOs) of China.
In the event of an injury or some other reason that would keep one of the participants out of a fight, four alternates were also unveiled: Mexico’s Mauricio Pintor (20-3-1, 13 KOs), Paddy Gallagher (13-3-0, 8 KOs) of Northern Ireland, Sergiy Lubkovich (7-0, 6 KOs) of Russia and Francisco Santana (26-6-1, 12 KOs) of Santa Barbara, California.
The quarterfinal pairings were not announced. That will be up to boxing fans, who can vote for the matches they want to see on The Real Deal Boxing website. Voting ends Feb. 26 at noon ET. The quarterfinal matches will be announced at a kick-off news conference for the tournament on Feb. 28.
“This is an excellent selection of highly talented and very hungry fighters from all over the world,” said Holyfield, the International Boxing Hall of Famer and former four-time heavyweight world titleholder. “The first round is a great opportunity for fans to be involved in choosing the matchups they want to see.”
According to the announcement, each fighter in the first round will receive a purse of $15,000 with the winner of each bout receiving a bonus of $7,500. Each fighter in the semifinals will receive a purse of $30,000 with the winner also getting a $15,000 bonus. The fighters in the final will receive a purse of $75,000, with the winner receiving a $25,000 bonus.
The quarterfinal and semifinal bouts will be scheduled for 10 rounds. If there is a draw there will be an 11th round. Also, a fourth judge will be placed at ringside and a fifth judge will be placed in front of a television monitor with no audio commentary. All five judges’ scorecards will be used if the fight goes the distance. Normally only three judges score a fight.