By Ian S Palmer
Murat Gassiev and Yunier Dorticos will be unifying the IBF and WBA Cruiserweight Titles when they meet in Sochi, Russia on Saturday, February 3rd in the semifinals of the World Boxing Super Series. The unbeaten Gassiev of Russia is the IBF champ who last fought in October when he stopped Krzysztof Wlodarczyk of Poland in the third round. Dorticos, who is also undefeated, is the WBA boss and hails from Cuba. He last fought in September when he crushed Dmitry Kudryashov in the second round. The 12-round bout can be seen on Super Channel in Canada, ITV Box Office in the UK and the Audience network in America.
Gassiev won his title in December of 2016 by beating Denis Lebedev via a 12-round unanimous decision. The 24-year-old has a perfect record of 25-0 along with 18 Kos. He turned pro back in 2011 and has fought 108 rounds since then. He has solid power in his fists as his current knockout ratio stands at 69 per cent. Gassiev stands just over 6-feet-3-inches tall with a 76-inch reach. North American fans may be familiar with Gassiev as he’s fought a few times in the U.S and has faced boxers such as Felix Cora Jr., Rodney Moore and Isiah Thomas.
The 31-year-old Dorticos has a perfect record of 22-0 with 21 Kos. He turned pro back in 2009 and has fought just 61 rounds since then. The main reason for this is his lack of action combined with his quick knockouts. There’s no questioning the Cuban’s amazing power as his current knockout ratio stands at an outstanding 95 per cent. He’s also a decent-sized cruiserweight at 6-feet-3-inches tall with an 80-inch reach, which gives him a four-inch edge in reach over Gassiev. Dorticos was elevated to the WBA Cruiserweight Champion in June after being the interim champ.
Dorticos hasn’t really fought the elite of his weight class as of yet with his toughest foes being Kudryashov, Youri Kalenga, Fulgencio Zuniga, Edison Miranda and Eric Fields, but there’s no denying his power. Like several other Cuban-born boxers, Dorticos now fights out of Miami, Florida. He had an extensive amateur career of about 260 bouts and won numerous medals and events. Since turning pro, Dorticos has won several minor titles as well such as the WBC Latino Cruiserweight, and USBA Cruiserweight Titles.
With two titles being on the line as well as a lot of size and power this fight isn’t expected to go the distance. Gassiev may have a slight advantage here since this contest will be held in Russia and he’s also seven years younger. However, once the bell rings it’s going to eventually come down to the power of the two combatants along with the sturdiness of their chins. Neither boxer has really been able to showcase their boxing skills much as of yet since they’ve been knocking everybody out. Their level of opponents have been about the same and they’re not very well known outside of fans of the cruiserweight division. These guys have a hell of a lot of power though and it looks like the winner could be the one who lands the first huge shot. It’s a tossup really, but I’ll go with Dorticos here.