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Arreola says Murat Gassiev is the biggest puncher he’s faced in sparring

Chris Arreola

By Jim Dower: Former 2-time heavyweight world title challenger Chris Arreola raves about the punching power of IBF/WBA cruiserweight champion Murat ‘Iron’ Gassiev (26-0, 19 KOs), saying that he’s the hardest puncher he’s been inside the ring with in sparring.

Arreola never fought Gassiev, as the 2 compete in different weight classes. Arreola says Gassiev is a massive puncher. They sparred with 18 oz. gloves and with head gear on, and Arreola states the punches from Gassiev still “hurt bad.” It’s a big compliment for Arreola to be complimentary of Gassiev’s power, because he’s sparred with a lot of different big punchers during his career.

For Arreola to be talking about Gassiev’s power, it shows that he rates this guy as a massive puncher. Arreola is a heavyweight. When Gassiev is fully rehydrated, he’s likely in the low 220s. He’s not one of those 250-pound heavyweights like Anthony Joshua. That’s who Gassiev wants to fight in the future. Will Joshua be able to take Gassiev’s enormous power punches without getting knocked out? It’ll be interesting to see.

Gassiev has knocked out 11 out of his last 12 opponents he’s faced since 2014. He seems to be getting better with each fight. The power that the Russian cruiserweight world champion has is extraordinary. Gassiev’s punch output, speed and boxing skills aren’t amazing, but his power seems to make up for what he lacks in those departments. Gassiev could be heading to the heavyweight division soon if he wins the World Boxing Super Series in May.

“In a boxing fight the hardest puncher would have to be Vitali Klitschko. He’s just a strong thudding punch,” Arreola said to ES News Reporting. ”In sparring, hands down, by far is Murat [Gassiev]. That man is [the hardest puncher]. That mother [expletive] hits HARD. He hits hard! The thing is I’m sparring him and I see the punch coming and I’m like, ‘NO.’ Boom! The crazy thing about him [Gassiev]; you see it coming. You can’t get out of it, and you get hit and it hurts BAD. That’s with gloves and head gear 18 ounce gloves too,” Arreola said.

Arreola’s boxing career appears to be over since his 8th round stoppage loss to Deontay Wilder on July 16, 2016.

The 24-year-old Gassiev will be facing WBC/WBO cruiserweight champion Oleksander Usyk (14-0, 11 KOs) on May 11th in the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) tournament finals in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Gassiev defeated WBA Yunier ‘The KO Doctor’ Dorticos (22-1, 21 KOs) last Saturday night by a 12th round knockout in a thrilling, action-packed fight in the semifinals of the WBSS. Gassiev and Dorticos went to war for 12 rounds with both guys landing bombs. Gassiev hurt Dorticos in round 11 with a left hand to the head that put him in serious distress. In the 12th, Gassiev knocked Dorticos down 3 times before the fight was stopped. The calm manner that Gassiev went out knocking out Dorticos was different from the way other fighters go after hurt fighters. It was as if Gassiev was buying groceries with a care in the world. He just knew he was going to get the knockout.

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