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Murat Gassiev faces Sefer Seferi on October 31 in Russia

Murat Gassiev

By Barry Holbrook: In an odd move, Murat Gassiev will be fighting 41-year-old cruiserweight Sefer Seferi in his heavyweight debut on October 31st in Russia after his previously scheduled match again Kevin Johnson couldn’t go through.

Gassiev vs. Seferi will be taking place at the WOW Arena, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. The heavy-handed Russian Gassiev has the power to be a major force in the heavyweight division if he can stay injury-free and work the flaws that were exposed by Oleksandr Usyk.

Former IBF/WBA cruiserweight champion Gassiev (26-1, 19 KOs) will be taking on a former Tyson Fury victim in Seferi (24-3-1, 22 KOs), who was recently knocked out in three rounds by South African Kevin Lerena (25-1, 12 KOs) last year in September.

Gassiev obviously didn’t want to give up the October 31st date when his fight with 41-year-old former heavyweight world title challenger ‘Kingpin’ Kevin Johnson (35-17-1, 19 KOs) failed to work out.

Seferi won’t last long against Gassiev

Murat Gassiev

It’s unclear why a heavyweight couldn’t have been found for Gassiev to fight on October 31st, as the whole idea behind this match was for him to make his debut in the division.

Seferi isn’t a big puncher, and his ability to take punishment is questionable after the way Fury and Lerena were able to dispatch him easily.

Gassiev, 27, hasn’t fought since losing to WBA/WBA cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk by a 12 round unanimous decision on July 21, 2018. The two met in the World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight tournament in Moscow, Russia, and Usyk easily handled the limited Gassiev.

It wasn’t rocket science what Usyk did to win the fight against Gassiev, who looked lost from the opening round. Having studied Gassiev’s past fights, Usyk obviously noticed that the Russian fighter has a bad habit of waiting until his opponents stop throwing for him to start up his own offense.

Murat Gassiev

That’s a flaw that Usyk took advantage of by pumping out his jab nonstop for the entire 12 round fight. It looked like Usyk wasn’t concerned about his jab landing. He just wanted to keep Gassiev’s offense dormant by giving him something to think about.

Surprisingly, Gassiev’s trainer didn’t fix his flaws well before the Usyk match, considering that he’d had the same problem with his offense since he turned pro in 2011.

Gassiev’s fights against Yuniel Dorticos and Denis Lebedev had previously highlighted his tendency to wait for his opponents to stop throwing before he would start letting his hands go.

Murat gains nothing fighting Seferi

Murat Gassiev

Fighting Seferi won’t tell us anything about Gassiev in terms of his ability to compete at heavyweight. At 6’3″, Gassiev is on the small side compared to the giants in the division like Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, and Deontay Wilder.

But as we saw recently with the 6’3″ Andy Ruiz Jr, it doesn’t take a lot of height to beat Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs).

What could hurt Gassiev’s chances of becoming a major player at heavyweight are his low work rate and his habit of waiting until his opponents stop throwing before he initiates his own offense. You can’t fight like that in the heavyweight division and expect to beat the best.

Murat needs to focus on using the fight with Seferi to let his hands go move and punch with him rather than waiting. At best, Seferi may last three rounds on October 31st with a big puncher like Gassiev, which is why Murat must get the most he can out of the fight.

Gassiev has lost the last two years of his career with injuries and inactivity, and he needs to make up for that by being as busy as he can. Fighting only once or twice a year like he’d been doing in the past won’t work for him now. He needs to fight at least three times per year, if not four, to get a world title shot.

If Gassiev can fight for a world heavyweight title against Joshua or Fury, he’ll be set for life with the money he makes from the match. It doesn’t matter if Gassiev oses, which is likely what will happen.

Gassiev can make massive money at heavyweight

Just getting that payday against AJ or Fury will put Gassiev on easy street for the rest of his life, as long as he’s careful with his money.

Gassiev’s best wins have come against these fighters:

  • Yuniel Dorticos
  • Denis Lebedev
  • Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
  • Jordan Shimmell
  • Isiah Thomas
  • Felix Cora Jr

With the right moves, Gassiev could get in position to challenge for a world title at heavyweight in a year or two. Unfortunately for Gassiev, he won’t have the express trip to the top the way Usyk did with the World Boxing Organization, making him the WBO mandatory before his first fight at heavyweight.

Murat must face quality opposition

Murat Gassiev

Gassiev has enough clout to where he’ll be moved up fast by the sanctioning bodies at heavyweight as long as he stays active, and he fights the right opposition.

He cannot afford to waste his time facing fighters like Sefer Seferi. That’s not going to get Gasiev moved up fast in the rankings. If anything, it’ll work against him if he continues to face this type of opposition in the future


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