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Dorticos: Murat Gassiev is my next victim on Feb.3

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By Allan Fox: With 3 days to go before their cruiserweight unification fight on Saturday, Yunier Dorticos already sees Murat Gassiev as his next victim to add to his win column of his ring resume. WBA World cruiserweight champion Dorticos (22-0, 21 KOs) and the unbeaten IBF World cruiserweight champion Gassiev (25-0, 18 KOs) will be meeting in the semifinals of the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) cruiserweight tournament on Saturday to find out which of them will meet up with WBC, WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk in the finals of the tournament on May 11.

(Picture credit: World Boxing Super Series)

Gassiev-Dorticos will be going to war on Saturday on Gassiev’s home turf at the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Adler, Russia. Dorticos, 31, is not worried about being the visitor, as he had a long amateur career in Cuba in which he had to travel a great deal for his fights. Dorticos has studied the 24-year-old Gassiev’s fighting style, and he feels he’s going to win this match without any problems just as he did in winning his quarterfinals fight against the 32-year-old Russian Dmitry Kudryashov last September in San Antonio, Texas.

“I’m ready to show Gassiev what a champion looks like and give him a challenge he’s never faced before. I want to take his belt. In other words, Gassiev is my next victim,” Dorticos said.

This may be a bridge too far for the 24-year-old Gassiev in taking on Dorticos. The Cuban fighter is younger than the 38-year-old Denis Lebedev, who Gassiev had a lot of problems with 2 years ago in their fight in December 2016.

Gassiev was too slow-paced in that fight for him to put away a very tired and much older fighter in Lebedev. Gassiev fought the wrong fight and didn’t attack Lebedev’s body nearly enough to make him stop moving around the ring. It ended up being a very hard fight for Gassiev, and he was lucky to win. A lot of boxing fans still think Lebedev did enough to deserve the victory. If Gassiev hasn’t improved his game since that fight, Dorticos is going to box circles around him and either knock him out or win a one-sided decision.

”I have worked hard to be able to prove that I am the best cruiserweight in the world. I believe I am the best in the world, and I can’t wait to fight again and show the fans all over the world once again what ‘The KO Doctor’ is about,” Dorticos said.

Usyk (14-0, 11 KOs) might be the best fighter in the cruiserweight division today. Dorticos might get past Gassiev on Saturday, but Usyk is a different story. He’s got the boxing skills, size, work rate and the ring IQ to beat Dorticos. It’ll be a tough fight, but Usyk will probably prevail in that match-up.

Doricos needs to make sure he doesn’t take the heavy shots that Gassiev is capable of landing. Lebedev took some enormous punches in every round of the fight against Gassiev. There wasn’t a round in which Gassiev didn’t land at least 2 monstrous shots that would be knockout blows against a lesser cruiserweight. Lebedev took everything Gassiev could dish out and made it close at the end. Dorticos might not have the same steel chin that Lebedev possesses.

If Dorticos isn’t equipped to take Gassiev’s mammoth shots, then he’s going to need to move around the ring a lot to stay out of range of the Russian. It wouldn’t be good for Dorticos to let Gassiev sit down on his shots the way he was doing against Lebedev and Krzysztof Wlodarczyk. Those were Gassiev’s last 2 fights Lebedev made it a point to stay in motion to keep Gassiev from getting to him, but he kept getting trapped against the ropes and nailed. Gassiev was like a bigger version of Gennady Golovkin with the way he was walking Lebedev down in that fight. Dorticos isn’t as sturdy as Lebedev, so he’s going to need to box a little, because he might not be able to knock Gassiev out early like he did with his last opponent Dmitry Kudrayashov.


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