Denis Lebedev vs. Murat Gassiev on December 3
By Allan Fox: Undefeated #6 WBA Murat Gassiev (23-0, 17 KOs) says he’ll be gunning for a knockout on December 3rd when he challenges IBF/WBA Super World cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev (29-2, 22 KOs) in Moscow, Russia. The 22-year-old Gassiev, who comes from Vladikavkaz, Russia, will be coming into the fight with a big advantage in height and age against the 37-year-old Lebedev. There are a lot of boxing fans that are excited about Gassiev, as he’s got true one-punch power with either hand. Gassiev is someone appears to be heading for stardom in the cruiserweight division. He’s like a small Mike Tyson with the way he punches. He doesn’t Tyson’s speed, but his power is devastating to say the least. Gassiev has the kind of power that KO anyone in the division.
That doesn’t mean he’s absolutely going to win, but it could be a factor in this fight if he can get his shots off. Gassiev has crushing punching power with both hands, but he tends to wait a long time in between letting his shots go. That might not be a good idea for Gassiev to be economical against the hard hitting 5’11” Lebedev on December 3, because the fight could be over before he even gets a chance to throw anything if he waits too long.
“He has more experience. He’s older than me,” said Gassiev to Michelle Phelps. “He’s shorter. I need to move, use my reach, and control distance. Southpaws, right handed [fighters] don’t worry me. I need to do my work. Of course, I want to win by knockout. It’s cruiserweight, guys hit very hard. I prepare myself for 12 round fights, but it’s boxing. I give good show, good fight for boxing fans.”
Gassiev is coming off an incredible 1st round knockout win over Jordan Shimmell last May in Carlton, Minnesota. The Gassiev-Shimmell fight was televised on Premier Boxing Champions, and the fight ended suddenly with Gassiev dropping Shimmell hard with a big left hook to the head. Referee Mark Nelson immediately halted the fight when he saw how hurt Shimmell was. He had fallen flat on his back with the back of his head bouncing off the canvas hard.
Before the knockout, Shimmell had been landing nonstop shots in the round, and it looked like Gassiev was going to be dominated in the fight. However, Gassiev suddenly unleashed a left hook that knocked Shimmell clean out. Another thing that seemed to surprise Shimmell was the way that Gassiev loaded up on the shot by putting everything he had in the punch. Before that, Gassiev had been throwing with moderate power, and that seemed to give Shimmell a sense of confidence that he could handle Gassiev’s shots.
Lebedev is coming off of a 2nd round knockout win over International Boxing Federation ruiserweight champion Victor Ramirez last May in Moscow, Russia. Lebedev made it look easy in stopping the 32-year-old Ramirez. Before that fight, no one had ever knocked the Argentinean Ramirez out before in his 10-year pro career, but he had also never fought anyone like the southpaw Lebedev. Ramirez hadn’t been beaten since his loss to Marco Huck in 2009. That was a long time ago, and he had beaten a lot of fighters ever since that fight without any problems.
Lebedev has knocked out three out of his last four opponents and looked really good in doing so. In 2013, Lebedev was stopped by the much taller and heavier looking 6’4” Guillermo Jones. It looked like a fight between a cruiserweight and a heavyweight. That’s how big Jones looked in that fight. He used his long reach and nonstop punches to finally wear Lebedev down to get a stoppage due to swelling on the side of his face. In hindsight, the contest should have probably been halted a lot earlier in the fight being that Lebedev’s face was so badly swollen.
Gassiev would do well if he could throw more punches in this fight than he’s been. The last thing that Gassiev needs to do is get caught in a fight where Lebedev is landing more shots than he is. Lebedev has too much power for Gassiev to be allowing him to outwork him. At the same time, the judges are likely to give the decision to Lebedev if he’s seen landing more shots with power that is close to that of Gassiev. Lebedev doesn’t appear to have the same kind of power that Gassiev possesses, but it won’t matter. If Lebedev can throw more punches than Gassiev, then he’ll likely get the nod by the judges.
Lebedev was arguably robbed in a 12 round decision loss to Marco Huck in December 2010. Lebedev appeared to do more than enough to deserve the decision, but two of the judges gave Huck the win by the scores of 115-113 and 115-113. The third judge had Lebedev winning by the scores 116-112.