Gassiev passes test against Lebedev

By Boxing News - 12/03/2016 - Comments


By Dan Ambrose: Unbeaten Murat Gassiev (24-0, 17 KOs) did his job in defeating IBF World cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev (29-2, 22 KOs) by a 12 round split decision on Saturday night to take his title at the Khodnyka Ice Palace in Moscow, Russia. Gassiev’s trainer Abel Sanchez would like to see more pressure and steady work from him in the future, because he let Lebedev off the hook after hurting him in the 5th.

The judges scored the fight 116-112, 116-111, and 114-113.

The win wasn’t as perfect a performance that Sanchez had hoped it would be, but he was still satisfied that he got the victory to capture the IBF title. Sanchez saw it as a problem with experience for Gassiev. He thinks it would have been a lot easier for Gassiev to win the fight if he had more experience. What Sanchez was unhappy about was Gassiev allowing Lebedev to work by throwing a lot of light shots that were intended to steal rounds and to keep Gassiev from throwing punches.

Lebedev changed his fighting style after he was knocked down by Gassiev in the 5th round by a body shot. After the knockdown, Lebedev used movement and a high volume punch attack to keep Gassiev from letting his own hands go. Lebedev’s trainer Freddie Roach likely noticed that Gassiev doesn’t throw until his opponents stops throwing. In other words, Gassiev tend to cover up and wait while his opponents are unloading on him. Lebedev just kept throwing shots in a sustained manner in the second half of the contest to keep Gassiev’s offense bottled up, and it worked well. Unfortunately for Lebedev his high punch output didn’t work well enough for him to get the judges’ decision.

Sanchez said this to Fight News about the Gassiev vs. Lebedev fight:

“Yes, too close for me,” said Sanchez about Gassiev’s win over Lebedev. “We allowed him back into the fight too many times. Once he hurt him, he should have walked him down and thrown punches, but the inexperience and the experience of Lebedev had something to do with that. But it’s a win; it’s a good clean win. It’s a championship. The split, I couldn’t see that, but it’s OK. That’s why we have three judges. Two of them saw it the way it really was, and Gassiev is the IBF champion. Perseverance for one, but we saw he has a long ways to go as far as experience. But you can imagine if he does this with Lebedev on no experience, you imagine what he’s going to do against better guys once he gets better. Presence was a big part. What was happening was the opposite. He would land a good shot and he would let Lebedev land pitty-pat punches, but they were landing. They would still score points, and not allowing Gassiev to work. It’s a matter of going back to the gym and working on the things we were doing wrong and getting better for the next time. I was screaming at him that he was allowing Lebedev to work. There’s no reason for him to put his glove up and let someone throw punches at him. That’s just crazy. Again, that’s the inexperience in how to handle a round. We’ll get back to the drawing board, as champions, and see what’s next,” said Sanchez.

It’ll be interesting to see where Gassiev goes from here for his next fight. Gassiev need to improve in a major way if he wants to beat the top fighters in the division. He can’t just cover up the way he was doing tonight against the better fighters in the division because they’ll outwork hi and beat him eventually. Lebedev created a blueprint in how to get the better of Gassiev by throwing a lot of shots. You can expect that other fighters in boxing will attempt to follow that blueprint and do a better job than Lebedev did in order to beat Gassiev.

Sanchez wants to turn Gassiev into a star like middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, who he also trains. It’s going to take more work to get Gassiev to the level of Golovkin, because he clearly doesn’t attack his opponents in the same way Golovkin does right now.

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