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Murat Gassiev vs. Yunier Dorticos – Results

Aleksandr Usyk Murat Gassiev

By Jim Dower: defeated previously unbeaten WBA cruiserweight Yunier ‘The KO Doctor’ Dorticos (22-1, 21 KOs) by a 12th round knockout after knocking him down 3 times in the semifinals of the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) tournament at the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Adler, Russia.

Dorticos was dropped 3 times in the 12th. The last knockdown drove him through the ropes. The referee chose to call a halt to the fight at that point, as it was clear that Dorticos was going to keep knocked down repeatedly had he gotten back to his feet. The fight was stopped with just 8 seconds remaining.

Dorticos was badly hurt in the 11th from a left uppercut and right hook. He barely made it out of the round by holding. At the start of round 12, Gassiev resumed nailing the tired and hurt 31-year Dorticos with power shots. The first knockdown by the 24-year-old Gassiev came from a scorching left hook to the jaw that put Dorticos down on the canvas. Dorticos wearily got back to his feet. Moments later, Gassiev knocked him down for a second time with a left hook to the head. Dorticos showed a lot of heart tonight. To take the massive shots that Gassiev was hitting him with and continuing to fire back his own shots. If Dorticos had a little more power, it would have made for a more interesting outcome.

Dorticos fought well in the first half of the fight. The fight appeared to be knotted at 3-3 after 6 rounds. Fatigue started to set in with Dorticos in the second half of the fight, as he lost power on his shots, and he started to take big punches from Gassiev. It’s easy to surmise why Dorticos began to gas in the second half of the contest. Dorticos came into the fight with a lot of early knockouts over guys that were totally over-matched. Dorticos never developed the stamina that fighters need to fight hard for a full 12 rounds. When Dorticos was unable to get a quick knockout of Gassiev tonight like he’d done with most of his opponents during his 9-year pro career, he slowly ran out of gas down the stretch and lost the fight based on fatigue.

What was surprising about tonight’s WBSS cruiserweight contest was the pressure that Dorticos was putting on Gassiev throughout the contest. Dorticos was always coming forward, and he had Gassiev backing up all fight long, looking like he was the weaker puncher instead of the far more powerful guy of the two. Even after Dorticos was hurt in the 11th, he continued to fight back hard after surviving the round. There was absolutely no quit in the Cuban knockout artist. He wasn’t going to give up. Gassiev could have made the fight a lot easier for himself if he had attacked Dorticos aggressively like he’d done against most of his opponents during his career. Gassiev gave Dorticos too much respect. Gassiev should have put massive pressure on Dorticos from the start of the fight, because he likely would have worn him down early and gotten a knockout. Gassiev wasn’t following the instructions from his trainer Abel Sanchez, who kept telling him to attack more. By the 8th round, Sanchez was concerned, saying, “You’ve got to win all the remaining 4 rounds.” Gassiev responded to this pep talk from Sanchez by going after Dorticos in the 9th round and hurting him.

Dorticos was very upset after the fight, crying at the post fight press conference. At one point, Gassiev walked over to him and consoled him. This was Dorticos’ career defeat, and it was a hard loss for him to take. The winner of the WBSS tournament will get a lot of money. Dorticos was hoping he’d be the one that would win the tournament. Instead, he’s been eliminated from the WBSS tournament, and it’ll be Gassiev and WBC/WBO cruiserweight champion Oleksander Usyk (14-0, 11 KOs) that will be fighting for the Muhammad Ali Trophy on May 11th in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Dorticos was even more hurt from this knockdown. When Dorticos got back to his feet, he looked rubber-legged and it was clear he was going to get finished off as long as Gassiev didn’t miss with his shots or get tired. Dorticos tried to fight back, but he had nothing on his punches. Gassiev walked right through them to nail him with a combination that knocked Dorticos through the ropes. The referee Eddie Claudio then stopped the fight. The time of the stoppage of the contest was at 2:52 of the 12th.

Dorticos was getting the better of the action in the first 4 rounds of the fight. Gassiev appeared to win round 2, but he was outworked and out-landed in rounds 1, 3 and 4. However, beginning in the 6th, Gassiev began to land heavy shots that were snapping Dorticos’ head back. Dorticos was still the much busier fighter of the two, but it Gassiev’s harder punches that got the attention from the boxing.

There was a big difference in power between the punches of Gassiev and Dorticos. The Cuban fighter came into the fight with a reputation for being a big puncher, but it was clear that he isn’t a huge puncher compared to Gassiev and some of the other cruiserweights in the division. Gassiev landed a flurry of shots late in the 6th round that got the crowd into the fight.

Rounds 7 and 8 were close with Dorticos outworking Gassiev, but not landing hard enough punches to earn the rounds in the view of Boxing News 24. Gassiev was connecting with the crowd-pleasing shots.

In round 9, Gassiev unloaded with a storm of huge shots late in the round against a tired looking Dorticos. It looked for a moment there that Gassiev might score a knockdown, as Dorticos’ legs looked rubbery after he was nailed by a vicious left hook.

The action was close in the 10th, as Gassiev failed to throw a lot of punches and he let Dorticos outwork him with his jabs and right hands. The few punches Gassiev did land in the round were hard uppercuts and hooks to the midsection. It looked like Gassiev was trying to land the perfect shot to score a knockout.

“It was a very hard fight,” Gassiev said afterwards. “He has hard punches all fight. He never gave up. He takes punches and he keeps fighting,” Gassiev said.

Dorticos wasn’t interviewed after the fight unfortunately. He might have been too hurt.

”I hope in future we do a good fight for all the boxing fans,” Gassiev said in talking about his upcoming finals fight against Usyk.

Gassiev and Usyk will be fighting in the finals of the World Boxing Super Series on May 11th in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

”I want to congratulate Murat for the victory, and I expect a spectacular and beautiful fight,” Usyk said.

Gassiev is going to need to be a lot busier against Usyk if he wants to beat him. Usyk will pile up the rounds and build a huge lead if Gassiev fights like he did tonight. Gassiev has got to put pressure on Usyk from round 1 if he doesn’t want to fall behind and wind up losing a wide 12 round decision. I’m not sure that Gassiev is capable of throwing a lot of punches. He’s too methodical to throw a lot of shots. Gassiev might have stamina limits that hold him back from being busier with his offense. Tonight’s fight was a lot like Gassiev’s contest against Denis Lebedev in December 2016. Gassiev was outworked by Lebedev, and the fight came down to the judges scoring his harder punches over Lebedev’s more numerous ones.


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