Oleksandr Usyk suffers injury, fight with Murat Gassiev postponed
By Jim Dower: Oleksandr Usyk (14-0, 11 KOs) has suffered an elbow injury and he won’t be able to face IBF/WBA cruiserweight champion Murat Gassiev on May 11 in their previously scheduled date in the finals of the World Boxing Super Series tournament in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Usky’s elbow injury is said to be a minor one.
The Usyk vs. Gassiev fight will be rescheduled as soon as possible with a new date. WBC/WBO cruiserweight champion Usyk and Gassiev’s management are working with the event organizers to put together a new date as soon as they find out how long it’ll take for the injury to heal.
The 2012 Olympic gold medalist Usyk is now in his early 30s, and he’s not as young as ‘Iron’ Gassiev. We could simply seeing age starting to rear its ugly head with Usyk, who has been fighting for years since he was a kid in the amateur system in Ukraine. The 24-year-old Gassiev (26-0, 19 KOs) is younger by far, and he’s very strong and looking like he’s going to be a big problem for Usyk when they do eventually face each other when/if this injury problem heals.
There are a lot of rumors and speculation from boxing fans on social media that the injury could be an excuse for the venue to be changed from Saudi Arabia to Russia. Of course, this is just the typical rumor mill that takes place after a fighter suffers an injury that causes a postponement for a fight.
Some boxing fans naturally assume that the injury is a fake and that it’s an excuse to cover up poor ticket sales. If the venue for the Usyk-Gassiev fight does get changed to Russia or some other country, it’s going to have a lot of the fans believing their worst suspicions. Having the fight in Russia would make a lot more sense, as both guys are Eastern European, and Gassiev is from Russia. It would bring in a large crowd. If the Usyk-Gassiev fight does take place in Saudi Arabia, it’ll be interesting to see how many tickets are sold. It would be shame if the place is a ghost town with very few fans attending.
If Usyk is unable to take part in the finals of the WBSS tourney finals, then it’ll make it necessary for a replacement opponent to be brought in to face the 25-year-old Gassiev. Mairis Briedis would be an ideal replacement for Usyk. Briedis gave Usyk a great deal of problems in losing a close 12 round majority decision in the semifinals of the World Boxing Super Series tournament last January. If not for Briedis gassing out in the last four rounds, he likely would have won the fight, as he was getting the better of Usyk in the first half of the contest.