Posts Tagged ‘WBSS’


Callum Smith displayed a formidable jab to easily defeat last-minute replacement Nieky Holzken and advance to face George Groves in the World Boxing Super Series finals.

Holzken, in his 14th fight on less than a week’s notice following an injury pullout from Jurgen Braehmer, displayed good power in his hooks when he sporadically positioned Smith on the ropes. But the more experienced Smith took full advantage of Holzken’s lack of counter-punching and jabbing to get off first and glide out of danger. When Holzken lingered too long in range, Smith would fire eye-catching lead right uppercuts.

But the fight’s most telling weapon would be Smith’s jab. He broke the super middleweight record for jab’s thrown with 852, and moved into second place all-time for jabs landed at 241 behind Hall of Famer Mike McCallum.


Final scorecards were unanimous for Smith — 118-110 and 117-111 twice. George Groves, one week removed from his impressive win over Chris Eubank, was ringside to observe and engage in a staredown. The exact date of the finals remains unclear as Groves is recovering from a left shoulder injury.

Groves, who is more fluid in his offense and in possession of the longer, faster and more powerful jab, remains the favorite to win the tournament as the #1 seed.




Chris Eubank’s expected a coming out party and instead received a boxing lesson from George Groves, who worked diligently behind a disruptive left jab to score a clear unanimous decision (117-112, 116-112, 115-11) at the Manchester Arena.

It was clear early on that Eubank didn’t come into this fight with a Plan B. He fully expected his athleticism would allow him to get inside and use his explosive power. Instead, he found himself stuck on the outside and eating jabs. When he attempted to barrel through, Groves would tie him up and force a reset at ring center. This essentially was the pattern of the entire fight.


As the fight wore on, Eubank’s attempts to get inside got more and more reckless. We got errant fouls from both, but Eubank would get the worst of the legal and illegal actions. He received a bad cut over his right eye from a clash of heads. He was lucky in the middle rounds when the referee missed a flash knockdown.


Eubank found his best success when he took risks and worked from mid-range. Groves would give ground to the ropes and Eubank had space to pound the body and exchange upstairs. Eubank particularly did this well in the championship rounds where Groves’s stamina began to wane.

We would find out later that Groves suffered a dislocated left shoulder early in the 12th, robbing him of the left jab that kept Eubank’s contained. The challenger took full advantage and dominated the stanza, but Groves showed durability and slickness by rolling with of Eubank’s power shots.

At press time, the severity of Groves’s injury is unknown. All are hopeful it won’t be an extended delay as Groves is set to the meet the winner of Callum Smith and Jurgen Brahmer (February 24) in the World Boxing Super Series Finals. Usually, recovery time can range anywhere from six weeks to three months.

In the meantime, Chris Eubank has to take a long hard look in the mirror. It’s time to stop believing his own hype and get with a new trainer. Naseem Hamed was commentating and absolutely ripped him, going as far to say Eubank showed he’s not a world-class fighter. It’s hard to argue with that considering Eubank was rendered clueless by Groves’s jab and look like an amateur throwing wild haymakers.

28 years old doesn’t exactly make Chris Eubank an old fighter. The question becomes whether it’s too old to unlearn the bad habits he’s internalized.



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.