Murat Gassiev looks forward to ‘street fight’ against Yunier Dorticos in WBSS semifinal
LOS ANGELES — Murat Gassiev makes no mistake: there’s one way he likes to fight, and that’s evident in all his bouts.
It was plain to see in his victory over Denis Lebedev in December 2016 to win the cruiserweight title that he likes to apply constant pressure and wing big bombs, the way Gennady Golovkin has in his takeover of the middleweight division.
After all, the Eastern European fighters train together in Big Bear, California with Abel Sanchez.
Gassiev (25-0, 18 knockouts) employed his seek-and-destroy to great effect against Krzysztof Wlodarczyk in his debut in the World Boxing Super Series. It took the 24-year-old all of three rounds to finish the former titleholder, and now Gassiev is ready for a much sterner test.
That assignment comes February 3 against fellow undefeated puncher Yunier Dorticos in the WBSS semifinals, and the showdown shapes up as one of the best fights on the 2018 calendar.
“I’m very excited,” Gassiev, THE RING’s No. 2 cruiserweight, told RingTV.com. “In cruiserweight division everybody has chance. I prepare myself for 12 hard rounds. I think it’s a good fight for all of us.
“He has 22 fights, 21 knockouts. He’s a great puncher, heavy hands, and I’m ready for him. I think it’s one of the best fights of this year and this is good for boxing and all boxing fans.”
Gassiev’s dream is to become a unified world champion, but his goal should already be achieved. That’s because he beat Lebedev, who held two titles at time. Inexplicably, only one of Lebedev’s titles was on the line, but soon enough, if all goes according to plan, Gassiev will have a chance to grab some more belts.
If he beats Dorticos, he’ll go on to face the winner of this weekend’s semifinal bout between Oleksandr Usyk and Mairis Briedis, both of whom own 200-pound titles.
“In six months I can be unified world champion. I think (the World Boxing Super Series is) great for boxing. (Lebedev) gave me only one belt. I have opportunity to take all belts now.
” .. I can’t move, play. I like fight, like street fight and I show this.”
He plans to show this again when he meets Dorticos, the man standing in the way of his dream.
Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for RingTV.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger