By Jim Dower: WBA Super World cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev (30-2, 22 KOs) pounded out a rather easy 12 round unanimous decision win over #6 WBA Mark Flanagan (22-4, 15 Kos) on Sunday night at the DIVS in Ekaterinburg, Russia.
By Eric Baldwin: Trainer Abel Sanchez is thankful that IBF cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev (29-3, 22 KOs) exposed flaws in the game of his unbeaten fighter Murat Gassiev (24-0, 17 KOs) last Saturday night in their fight at the Khodnyka Ice Palace in Moscow, Russia. Lebedev lost the fight to the 23-year-old Gassiev, but he gave a lot of problems with his high work rate, head movement, southpaw stance and his mobility.
The only reason Lebedev lost the fight was because he got tired in the last half of the fight, and he also got knocked down in the 5th.The 37-year-old Lebedev did a much better job of making adjustments in the fight than Gassiev did.
By Dan Ambrose: Unbeaten Murat Gassiev (24-0, 17 KOs) did his job in defeating IBF World cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev (29-2, 22 KOs) by a 12 round split decision on Saturday night to take his title at the Khodnyka Ice Palace in Moscow, Russia. Gassiev’s trainer Abel Sanchez would like to see more pressure and steady work from him in the future, because he let Lebedev off the hook after hurting him in the 5th.
The judges scored the fight 116-112, 116-111, and 114-113.
The win wasn’t as perfect a performance that Sanchez had hoped it would be, but he was still satisfied that he got the victory to capture the IBF title. Sanchez saw it as a problem with experience for Gassiev. He thinks it would have been a lot easier for Gassiev to win the fight if he had more experience. What Sanchez was unhappy about was Gassiev allowing Lebedev to work by throwing a lot of light shots that were intended to steal rounds and to keep Gassiev from throwing punches.
By Jeff Aranow: The big punching unbeaten #2 IBF Murat Gassiev (24-0, 17 KOs) used his superior punching power, pressure, size and youth to pound out a 12 round split decision win over IBF/WBA cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev (29-3, 22 KOs) on Saturday night at the Khodnyka Ice Palace in Moscow, Russia. The 23-year-old Gassiev knocked Lebedev down in the 5th round from a powerful left to the body. Lebedev was in trouble the remainder of the 5th. Lebedev was very lucky to have made it out of the round, because he was taking body shots over and over again from Gassiev until the round ended. You can argue that whatever chance Lebedev had of winning the fight went out the window after the 5th, because his whole approach to the fight changed. Lebedev started running from Gassiev, and the fight resembled a cat and mouse type of affair.
By Jeff Aranow: IBF/WBA cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev (29-2, 22 KOs) weighed in successfully in coming in at 199.7lbs on Friday’s weigh-in for his title defense against the much younger 23-year-old Russian Murat Gassiev (23-0, 17 KOs) this Saturday night at the Khodnyka Ice Palace in Moscow, Russia.
The 6’3” Gassiev weighed in at slightly less than Lebedev at 198.4lbs. This is a great fight. The boxing world is very excited about the Lebedev-Gassiev match-up, because it could be the passing of the baton from a very good champion to a future star in the cruiserweight division in Gassiev, who is seen by some as the cruiserweight division’s version of Gennady Golovkin.
By Eric Baldwin: Trainer Abel Sanchez believes his young fighter unbeaten Murat Gassiev (23-0, 17 KOs) is ready to dethrone IBF World cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev (29-2, 22 KOs) this Saturday night in their fight at the Khodnyka Ice Palace in Moscow, Russia. The 5’11” Lebedev has looked invincible in his last four fights since losing to the much taller and longer armed 6’4” Guillermo Jones in 2013 in losing by an 11th round TKO due to swelling on his right cheekbone.
This Saturday, Lebedev will be facing a fighter with similar height and reach in the 6’3 ½” Gassiev, and it could prove to be a very difficult fight for him. Sanchez believes that his fighter 23-year-old Gassiev has the punching power and the ability to beat the 37-year-old Lebedev despite not having nearly as much experience as him.
By Eric Baldwin: IBF, WBA cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev will be taking on one of the toughest opponents in quite some time when he defends his titles against unbeaten Murat Gassiev this Saturday night at the Khodynka Ice Palace in Moscow, Russia. The 37-year-old Lebedev sees the fight as a 50-50 affair. His trainer Freddie Roach appears more certain of Lebedev (29-2, 22 KOs) getting the victory over the 23-year-old Gassiev (23-0, 17 KOs).
Roach compares the fight to the recent match between his fighter Manny Pacquiao and former WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas. The 37-year-old Pacquiao came into that fight as the much older fighter than the 27-year-old Vargas, and yet he still beat the younger guy. The difference here is that Gassiev is even younger than Vargas.
Gassiev just turned 23-years-old in October, and he’s also a big puncher. Vargas was not a favorite against Pacquiao. He was a light puncher with only 10 knockouts on his resume going into that fight.
By Eric Baldwin: IBF/WBA cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev (29-2, 22 KOs) will be defending his titles this Saturday night on December 3 against #2 IBF, #6 WBA contender Murat Gassiev (23-0, 17 KOs) at the Khodnyka Ice Palace in Moscow, Russia. This is a tough fight to predict a winner. Gassiev has the kind of power that makes him a threat to anyone in the cruiserweight division. However, Gassiev’s low work rate, slow hands and inexperience could prove to be his undoing in this fight. Gassiev has got to attack more and not wait so long before he throws his big power shots.
The 37-year-old Lebedev has only had one tough fight in the last six years and that was his 11th round knockout loss to Guillermo Jones in 2013. All the rest of Lebedev’s fights have been easy ones for him apart from the loss to Jones and his earlier controversial 12 round split decision defeat against Marco Huck in 2010 in Germany.
By Allan Fox: Undefeated #6 WBA Murat Gassiev (23-0, 17 KOs) says he’ll be gunning for a knockout on December 3rd when he challenges IBF/WBA Super World cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev (29-2, 22 KOs) in Moscow, Russia. The 22-year-old Gassiev, who comes from Vladikavkaz, Russia, will be coming into the fight with a big advantage in height and age against the 37-year-old Lebedev. There are a lot of boxing fans that are excited about Gassiev, as he’s got true one-punch power with either hand. Gassiev is someone appears to be heading for stardom in the cruiserweight division. He’s like a small Mike Tyson with the way he punches. He doesn’t Tyson’s speed, but his power is devastating to say the least. Gassiev has the kind of power that KO anyone in the division.
That doesn’t mean he’s absolutely going to win, but it could be a factor in this fight if he can get his shots off. Gassiev has crushing punching power with both hands, but he tends to wait a long time in between letting his shots go. That might not be a good idea for Gassiev to be economical against the hard hitting 5’11” Lebedev on December 3, because the fight could be over before he even gets a chance to throw anything if he waits too long.
By Jim Dower: WBA cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev (29-2, 22 KOs) will be defending his World Boxing Association title next against unbeaten #2 IBF, #6 WBA challenger Murat Gassiev (23-0, 17 KOs) in November or December in a fight that will be staged in Russia. Both fighters are from Russia, so there won’t be an advantage for either of them.
The promoters for the fight will be Andrey Ryabinskiy’s World of Boxing.
This is a big step up for the 22-year-old Gassiev, because he’s never faced anyone remotedly as good as the 37-year-old Lebedev during his short five-year pro career. However, Gassiev is catching Lebedev at the right time in his career, because he’s getting up there in age at 37, and he’s not faced a real threat since his 11th round knockout loss to Guillermo Joones in 2013.