Posts Tagged ‘cruiserweight’


RUSSIA, ADLER —  Newsflash, Murat Gassiev has sublime technical skills to go along with devastating power. He outboxed Yunier Dorticos and punctuated a dramatic 12th round by knocking his foe out the ring to unify the WBA/IBF cruiserweight titles and clear the way for a final unification against WBC/WBO title-holder  Oleksandr Usyk in May.

AN EDUCATED JAB: So how did Gassiev do it? It started with a mastery of the basic foundation of all elite fighters — the jab. Gassiev elected to fight off the backfoot while looking for countering opportunities. It looked like a perilous strategy through the first four rounds as Dorticos fired dangerous 1-2s through the guard and occasionally ripped Gassiev to the body.

But the brilliance of the strategy was subtle but clear. While Dorticos’s jab was predictable, Gassiev would double his, shoot it from below as an upjab, and even deliver it to the pit of Dorticos’s stomach. This kept the Cuban guessing and allowed the fleeting moments of hesitation needed for Gassiev to fire off hooks to the body, a sneaky left uppercut, or a looping left hook around the guard. And while these heavy punches didn’t have a visible effect, they were undoubtedly chipping away at the Cuban’s armor.

TURNING POINT: The momentum permanently shifted in a fifth round that saw Gassiev tee off with hooks. He rocked Dorticos upstairs with a double left hook that forced a clinch. For the first time, Dorticos was backing up and looking for answers. Despite this, Gassiev remained defensively responsible and never got into any wild exchange.

By the eighth, Dorticos’s punches didn’t possess the same snap. Gassiev was venturing more inside where the left uppercut scored heavily. The double left hook returned in a ninth round that saw Gassiev unload his entire arsenal on a defiant Dorticos who amazingly continued his forward march.

A DRAMATIC FINISH: By the 12th, many observers on social media were beginning to wonder if Dorticos was human. The repeated power shots looked to have minimal effect until he was floored with a perfect counter left hook. Dorticos beat the count but was quickly dropped again with a series of right hooks. He rose for a final time only to be knocked through the ropes for the stoppage.

The ending capped a brilliant performance captained by head trainer Abel Sanchez, who stressed to Gassiev the importance of closing distance and giving Dorticos little room to generate power.



A THINKING MAN’S FINAL: The finals of the World Boxing Super Series tournament is now even more intriguing. Gassiev and Usyk have both shown immense power and technical skills. Right now, I lead slightly towards Gassiev because he’s a better counter-puncher and inside fighter, but Usyk’s better stamina and likely superior physical strength make this a truly 50/50 fight.

May 11 can’t come soon enough.



Photo Credit: Stephanie Trapp/ Ringstar Sports

NEWARK — Murat Gassiev ended the World Boxing Super Series quarter-finals with a crushing third round stoppage of Krzysztof Wlodarczyk at the Prudential Center.

Gassiev stalked his foe behind a tight guard from the opening bell. Wlodarczyk tried to implement a countering strategy off the backfoot, but his ponderous movement allowed Gassiev to cut the ring off and line up the right cross. With his opponent now focused on that punch, Gassiev uncorked a double left hook to the head and body that put Wlodarczyk flat on his face for the ten count.

“I had a great opponent tonight,” said Gassiev. “I prepared myself for a tough fight but it is boxing and anything can happen. We do a lot of work in the gym and I just listened to my coach round after round and he told me what I needed to do. That’s all I needed.”

Gassiev’s semi-final opponent is a fellow undefeated power-puncher and IBF titlist Yunier Dorticos, who knocked out Dmitry Kudryashov last month.

“Dorticos is a very good fighter with great experience,” said Gassiev. “He’s undefeated and I can’t wait to give all the boxing fans the big gift of a great fight against Dorticos.”

Dorticos, who believes Gassiev’s record is the product of weak opposition, vowed to add Gassiev’s WBA strap to his collection.

“I really wanted Gassiev to win, because he’s going to taste the power of a real man against me,” said Dorticos. “His opponent tonight was past his time. I’m ready to show him what a champion looks like and give him a challenge he’s never faced before. I want to take his belt. I want to get in the ring and destroy Gassiev.”

Gassiev improves his record to 25-0 (18 KOs). The semi-final unification matchup between Gassiev and Dorticos is targeted for early 2018.


SAN ANTONIO — The quarterfinal World Boxing Super Series battle between punchers Yunier Dorticos and Dmitry Kudrayshov ended swiftly and in brutal fashion with Dorticos’s right hand earning him a second-round KO last night at the Alamodome.

The fighters spent much of the first round exchanging power shots behind high guards. Dorticos scored most of his points by penetrating the guard with straight and overhand rights. In contrast, Khudryashov exploited Dorticos’ high hands by going to the body with short hooks.

Dorticos started quickly in the second with clusters of power shots that forced Khudryashov to give ground and exchange for breathing room. Within a minute, Dorticos’ faster hands were controlling the action.

Khudryashov made the fatal mistake of throwing a lingering jab. Dorticos came over the top with a snapping overhand right that sent Khudryashov to the canvas. With eyes rolling and rubbery legs, Khudryashov was ruled unfit to continue with 51 seconds remaining.

The victory comes in Dorticos’ first bout since defeating Youri Kalenga by knockout in May 2016. He advances to the WBSS semifinals and will face the winner of Murat Gassiev (IBF champion) vs. Krzysztof Wlodarczyk, taking place on October 21.




LIVERPOOL — Tony Bellew was dominant on Saturday in dispatching BJ Flores in three rounds to retain his WBC cruiserweight title.

Bellew played the role of counter-puncher while Flores was the stalking aggressor. In the first round, Flores was able to capitalize and catch the champion with wide right hands.

The momentum turned suddenly when a Bellew counter left strayed low. Flores turned to complain to the referee about the non-call, allowing Bellew to pounce with hooks for the first knockdown.

An enraged Flores pressed Bellew for the rest of the round as both men were stunned with haymakers. The American challenger would get the worst of the damage as Bellew’s better accuracy put Flores down twice more to conclude the round.

Flores would futilely attempt to drag Bellew into a brawl in round three. But the champion remained calm and moved away to create space when needed. A short exchange resulted in Flores crumbling to his knees from a left hook counter. The challenger was not up fully at the count of 10 and did not protest the referee stoppage.

The real fun happened seconds afterward with Bellew storming from the ring to confront David Haye. Did Bellew sell this potential fight for you?


MOSCOW — Denis Lebedev is now the unified WBA and IBF cruiserweight champion after scoring a second round stoppage over Victor Emilio Ramirez at the Khodynka Ice Palace.

Although Lebedev had little trouble with Ramirez, the ending moments were scary due to the reluctance of referee Steve Smoger. Over the span of roughly 30 seconds, Lebedev battered Ramirez. He scored an uncalled knockdown when Ramirez’s glove touched the canvas, and made Ramirez turn his back in complete surrender. Still, Smoger just stood there and Lebedev got in more unnecessary shots before Smoger finally decided to halt a pending fatality.

This is the second time Smoger has stood by and let Lebedev beat on a helpless opponent. Do these two have some type of “brutality contract” we don’t know about?



On Tuesday night’s edition of Premier Boxing Champions, undefeated Gennady Golovkin stablemate Murat “Iron” Gassiev delivered a chilling one-punch knockout of Jordan Shimmell. The left hook bomb came in the first round and is the latest example of why the cruiserweight division is criminally overlooked in today’s boxing landscape.

Remember Gassiev’s name. Jordan Shimmell definitely will.




Roy Jones Jr. notched his second stoppage of the year last night with a left hook to the body on Hany Atiyo. The knockout came with 1:35 left in the first round.

Jones was the aggressor in the fight, coming forward behind a high guard and looking to bang away with hooks. Atiyo’s brief offensive forays where telegraphed shots the Jones easily caught on his gloves before the finishing blow.

The bout was Jones’ third venture to Russia and improves his record to 59-8. Atiyo falls to 14-3.


This was definitely not Roy Jones destroying Virgil Hill, but not horrible for any 45-year old boxer not named Bernard Hopkins. Let’s just hope that Roy keeps his senior tour somewhere around this level of competition. If so, he can probably rack up wins until he’s 50. But he dares to fight a credible guy, another frightening KO defeat is on tap.