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Usyk vs. Gassiev to have RING Magazine cruiserweight title on the line

Aleksandr Usyk Murat Gassiev


By Jim Dower: On May 11th, Oleksander Usyk and Murat Gasiev will have the RING Magazine cruiserweight title on the line for their unification fight in the World Boxing Super Series final in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The unbeaten Gassiev (26-0, 19 KOs) will bring his IBF/WBA cruiserweight belts in facing WBC/WBO champion Usyk (14-0, 11 KOs).

Gassiev is being compared to the late heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano, who had the same kind of body size and punching power. Like Marciano, Gassiev is a huge puncher and capable of knocking out his opponents with single shots.

It makes a lot of sense for RING Magazine to have their cruiserweight title up for grabs. After all, it would be crazy for them not to have their title on the line, as the winner of the Usyk vs. Gassiev fight will hold all 4 of the cruiserweight world titles. The winner of the RING Magazine cruiserweight title isn’t expected to hold onto the belt for long, as they’re planning on moving up to heavyweight. The RING belt will then go vacant once again. Oh well.

Usyk, 31, is the favorite to take home all the titles on May 11th, but Gassiev’s power is the great equalizer. Gassiev, 24, is younger and stronger than Usyk, but he’s not as mobile and not quite as tall as him. Usyk will have the advantage in height, reach and hand speed. What Gassiev has going for him is power, accuracy, punch placement and explosiveness.

Gassiev likes to vary the power on his shots, and then explode on his opponents with a sudden big shot that they’re expecting. The increase in power from Gassiev takes his opponents by surprise. Dorticos got used to taking Gassiev’s power when he was throwing with less than full power.

When Gassiev turned it up a notch in landing with full force in the 11th and 12th rounds, he badly hurt Dorticos. In the 12th round, Gassiev knocked Dorticos down with a wide left hook. 2 knockdowns quickly followed with Dorticos hitting the deck. The fight was then stopped by Eddie Claudio at 2:52 of the 12th.

It would be nice to see former WBA World cruiserweight champion Yunier ‘The KO Doctor’ Dorticos (22-1, 21 KOs) compete on the undercard if possible against former WBC champion Mairis Briedis. Both fighters recently lost in their semifinals matches in the WBSS. Briedis lost a close 12 round majority decision to Usyk on January 27 in Riga, Latvia. Dorticos lost to Gassiev last Saturday night by a 12th round knockout in Adler, Russia. It was a very good performance by Dorticos. He fought well.

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