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Murat Gassiev vs. Yunier Dorticos next Sat. on Feb.3


By Jeff Aranow: IBF World cruiserweight champion Murat Gassiev (25-0, 18 KOs) will be fighting next Saturday night on February 3 against WBA World cruiserweight champion Yunier Dorticos (22-0, 21 KOs) in the semifinals of the World Boxing Super Series [WBSS] tournament at the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Adler, Russia.

WBC/WBO cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk (14-0, 11 KOs) is already waiting for the winner of the Gassiev-Dorticos fight in the finals of the WBSS on May 11 in Jeddah, Saudi, Arabia. Usyk defeated WBC champion Mairis Briedis by a close 12 round majority decision in their semifinals match in the WBSS tourney last Saturday night at the Arena Riga, in Riga, Latvia.

Gassiev, 24, will have Abel Sanchez in his corner next Saturday night for the Dorticos fight. Sanchez feels he’s got the game plan to beat Dorticos. It’s obvious what Gassiev will need to do to win this fight. He’ll need to keep his guard up and look to knockout the Cuban Dorticos before he lands one of his own big shots.

The longer Gassiev leaves Dorticos out there in the fight, the more chances he’ll be giving him to land one of his own big shots. Dorticos is unbeaten as a pro, but when he was in the amateurs; his chin is what betrayed him from time to time in losses to Dmitry Chudinov, Yerdos Dzhanabergenov and Artur Beterbiev. Those losses took place many years ago. but you still have to believe that Doricos’ chin hasn’t improved though the years.

“Dorticos is an attacker. Dorticos is a big puncher,” Gassiev’s trainer Abel Sanchez said to RingTV. “Usyk is a more of a boxer. He’s a gold medalist. He’s a boxer. He poses a difficult challenge. It’ll be a test preparing for him,” Sanchez said.

Dorticos, 31, is coming off a 2nd round knockout of Dmitry Kudrayashov in the quarterfinals of the WBSS on September 23. Dorticos knocked Kudrayashov with a right hand. Both fighters landed a lot of shots in the 2 rounds. If Dorticos didn’t get Kudrayashov out of there, he would have been knocked out himself, because he was going to war the entire fight.

If Dorticos fights like that against Gassiev, it’s going to be difficult for him to make it past the 2nd round. Gassiev is a bigger puncher than Kudrayashov, and he’s a far better body puncher as well. Dorticos will need to take some bombs from Gassiev for him to have a chance of beating him. It’s likely that Dorticos will try and box Gassiev rather than slug with him, because it’s too dangerous to trade with the hard-hitting Russian. Gassiev is looking unstoppable right now.

In Gassiev’s quarterfinals match in the WBSS last October, he stopped former IBF/WBC cruiserweight champion Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (53-4-1, 37 KOs) in the 3rd round with a left uppercut to the head followed by a left to the body. Those shots would be hard for Dorticos to take. Dorticos cannot afford to let Gassiev put hands on him the way he did with Wlodarczyk.

Gassiev is faster than Kudrayashov, and he has heavier hands than him. If Dorticos decides to go to war with Gassiev next Saturday, it’s going to be a short fight. Dorticos will not be able to take the punches from Gassiev that he absorbed from Kudrayashov. Those shots would be knockout blows with Gassiev doing to the one throwing them.

Dorticos will likely run around the ring like Wlodarczyk was doing against Gassiev to try and keep from getting hit. The problem is that the running doesn’t really help. Dorticos will no other choice but to stand and trade with Gassiev sooner or later. He’s not going to be able to run around the ring for 12 rounds, because he doesn’t have that kind of frame to run. Dorticos has been a slugger since day 1 in the amateurs, and he’s not changed his style one bit as a pro.

Next Saturday, Dorticos will try and win with what has gotten him thus far in his career and that’s to slug. If Dorticos can land enough of his big shots on Gassiev like he did with Kudrayashov, then he’ll knock him out. If he can’t, then this fight is going to end early with Gassiev knocking Dorticos out early in the same Beterbiev did in the amateurs. Dorticos falls apart when he gets hit hard.

Kudrayashov couldn’t do it because he was so painfully slow, and his chin betrayed him once again. Gassiev hasn’t shown the same chin issues. He seems to take a punch well, and he’s good at cutting off the ring. I don’t think Gassiev will have to cut the ring off against the Cuban Dorticos on Saturday night, because the ‘KO Doctor’ will likely be standing right in front of him hoping that he can win the fight with his better hand speed. Dorticos is faster than Gassiev, but not that much faster. Dorticos doesn’t possess Roy Jones Jr. hand speed or anything close to that.

Dorticos’s best career wins have come against these fighters:

• Dmitry Kudrayashov

• Youri Kayembre Kalenga

• Edison Miranda

So, we’re basically talking about just 2 quality wins for Dorticos over Kudrayashov and Kalenga during his 8-year pro career and with the rest of his victories being against poor opposition. We’ll see if Dorticos can hang with Gassiev or if he’ll fold like he did against Beterbiev when he was in the amateur ranks.

Gassiev’s best wins of his 7-year pro career has come against these guys:

• Krzysztof Wlodarczyk

• Denis Lebedev

• Jordan Shimmell

• Isiah Thomas

• Felix Cora Jr.

• Ismael Abdoul

Gassiev has fought the much better opposition during his short career compared to Dorticos. Gassiev’s win over Lebedev was an excellent one. Gassiev knocked Lebedev down in the fight in the 5th, and likely would have knocked him out if he’d continued to him with body shots. Gassiev didn’t go back to the body after that for some reason.

Gassiev’s trainer Sanchez spoke about that after the fight, saying that he wishes that he’d continued to throw body shots, because that one area where Lebedev could take his power. Gassiev made it a point to attack Krzysztof Wlodarczyk’s midsection in his last fight and he stopped him quickly. That could be the key for Gassiev to beat Dorticos. If he throws body shots, he might end the fight early.

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