Tuesday, May 22, 2018  |


Oleksandr Usyk and Murat Gassiev to contest vacant RING 200-pound title

Usyk (left) and Gassiev (right) collide for the undisputed cruiserweight championship. Photo courtesy of World Boxing Super Series

The winner the May 11 cruiserweight World Boxing Super Series final in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, will require plenty of room at home to showcase the fruits of their labor.

The belts on the line will be IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO, and now RING Magazine can officially reveal that their vacant cruiserweight championship belt will also be on the line. Subsequently, either Oleksandr Usyk or Murat Gassiev will emerge as the undefeated and undisputed cruiserweight champion of the world.

On Saturday, Gassiev (26-0, 19 knockouts) scored a sensational 12th-round stoppage of the previously unbeaten Yunier Dorticos to reach the tournament final. The Russian boxer-puncher also unified IBF and WBA titles with what was a career-best performance in front of his home crowd in Sochi.

One week earlier, Usyk (14-0, 11 KOs) unified WBC and WBO belts by winning a hard-fought 12-round majority decision over the previously unbeaten Mairis Briedis in Riga, Latvia. It was a harder fight than many people expected, but the Ukrainian southpaw earned the victory and now looks ahead to a mouthwatering showdown.

Usyk and Gassiev are currently rated No. 1 and 2 respectively by THE RING at 200 pounds, so the decision to have the vacant belt on the line was an easy one to make. THE RING looks forward to crowning their 11th cruiserweight world champion.


Tom Gray is Associate Editor for THE RING. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing


Struggling to locate a copy of THE RING Magazine? Try here or


You can order the current issue, which is on newsstands, or back issues from our subscribe page.


  • Stephen Wilkinson

    Usyk won by majority, not unanimous, decision

    • Tom Gray

      You’re the man. Thanks!

      • Stephen Wilkinson

        No hassle Tom!

  • ozzy

    Expect that Usyk will win in the final just so long as he fights mid-long range rather than the
    silly mid-range Dorticos fought at which meant he was easily hit by Gassiev.

    The fact that the final is taking place in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) in May and I presume in an outdoor arena. This could have an effect on the result as Jeddah has a Max/Min temp of 35/25 degrees (C) in May. How these lads are gunna fight for 12 rounds in that heat is beyond me – it’s crazy!

    • Stephen M

      I think that if Usyk throws flurries the way he does, Gassiev will fire in between his punches. Gassiev did that very well against Dorticos. He was very calm and precise. It will be harder for Gassiev to predict Usyk than it was to predict Dorticos though.

      • ozzy

        Agreed – it’s gunna be a great fight. Looking forward to this one more than GGG-Canelo II.

        • Stephen M

          Me too.

  • John Newman

    I think Usyk has a better jab than Dorticos (who really only throws it to set up his right cross/ money punch), and he could cruise to a decision if he can establish it and keep Gassiev at a distance. Gassiev is sharp and fit though, considerably more than people give him credit for because of his power. If he can reach Usyk (who I doubt has as good of a chin as Dorticos) like Breidis did, this fight will be as good as the semi-finals.

  • william ellis

    Should be another great Cruiser fight. Both men are first-rate.

  • ceylon mooney

    i already asked on another forum, on this site, but im itchin to see if saturdays fight got anyone pickin gassiev over usyk.

    • Stephen M

      I’m starting to feel it. If Breidis was landing on Usyk Gassiev will land better and more.

      • ceylon mooney

        im not gonna pick a winner, but i aint gonna be surprised.

    • Deleted Scenes

      If Usyk presses the action, as he did against Briedis, I can see it happening. Gassiev slipping the jab and launching hard counters. If he lands to the body enough early on, we’ll see how good Usyk’s stamina really is. Gassiev is technically sound, as well as powerful, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him gradually break Usyk down.

      If Usyk decides to stick and move, Gassiev will have a tougher time of it. As well as Gassiev cuts off the ring, Usyk’s workrate will make it difficult for Gassiev to win rounds, and if he’s not coming forward, there’s less risk Gassiev separates him from his senses.

      I’m about 55-45 Usyk, at the moment. Looking at the odds though, it’s tempting to put something on Gassiev.

    • Andy T

      Only Gassiev by KO for me, which is possible, I think Usky’s pitter patter style will rack the points / rounds but Usyk was caught by Briedis and I think Gassiev hits harder . Another great fight 🙂

      • ceylon mooney

        gassiev was
        damn accurate with dorticos

    • JL Sabinas

      It’s going to be a great fight! Gassiev has outstanding boxing accumen; he always is under control and in command of the situation. Usyk is no sloutch, but I expect him to have a more difficult time hurting Gassiev then Breidis. Also, I think Gassiev will take better advantage of any slip-ups Usyk has, he’s very opportunistic. Really looking forward to it.

      • ceylon mooney

        u think hell win?

        • JL Sabinas

          It could go either way, they’re both good. I don’t see a clear winner but I do feel each could win

  • Chris Noble

    Having this final in Jeddah is a terrible idea. How did this even happen!?

    • JL Sabinas

      Money talks

  • Black Oracle

    This division is doing what every division should be doing. Best vs Best

  • Rolly Arellano

    I’m looking forward to this match-up. I hope we can also have such unification bouts in other weight categories in order to crown only one, undisputed champion. Heavyweight appears headed to this same direction, as long as both Joshua and Wilder really want it, and neither will shout “Quack! Quack!” Super Flyweight is also following suit. However, champions at other weights like 130, 147, 154, 160, and 175 lbs. are too scared to put their belts on the line against fellow champions of rival organizations. It is very disappointing.

  • PresnyaRulit

    It'[s a puzzle for me why Gassiev whose record is 26:0 is rated as number 2 Cruiserweight and Usyk having the record of 14:0 is ranked first. How come? Not only that: Gassiev fights like a true professional while Usyk has an amateur style. In terms of opposition they are about equal. Lebedev and Dorticos are as good as Huck, Glowacki or Briedis, maybe even better in the power department.

    • Andrii Matiash

      Boxer’s intelligence.

      • PresnyaRulit

        Their level of opposition is about the same and the victory over Dorticos was more spectacular than a split decision over Briedis

        2018-02-12 14:27 GMT+03:00 Disqus :

        • Andrii Matiash

          Only the finale will put everything in its place.

  • Cousin Strawberry ( Cheech)

    What an amazing tournament, the best fighting the best. I would luv to see the welterweights do a tourney but it will never happen imo.

  • Andrii Matiash

    Usyk will win W 116-112.