Like a trans-Siberian freight train, Murat Gassiev powered his way to the final destination of the World Boxing Super Series with a show of force that left Cuban Yunier Dorticos on his back looking up at the arena lighting.
It was the type of performance that sent out a stern message to his future opponent, a spine-tingling reminder that Oleksandr Usyk will be in for the toughest fight of his career to date.
Usyk the betting favourite going into the contest as himself been impressive, dissecting his way through the tournament, beating Mairis Briedis last time out in another fascinating encounter, with a wealth of amateur experience to fall back on Usyk as quite simply looked unbeatable in his fourteen fight career, but the question is being asked, does Gassiev who has amassed one short of double that tally in his pro career, has something which Usyk hasn’t seen so far?
Its true Gassiev hasn’t been blessed with the long learning curve of Usyk, Instead, his amateur career was short, consisting of just 25 fights but what he lacked in experience, he more than made up for with determination, focus and of course enough power to switch off the power grid.
Yunier Dorticos can attest to such, The Cuban put forth a brave effort in defence of his title on Saturday night but in the end, it wasn’t enough.
Gassiev was exceptionally efficient on the night, hammering home his bad intentions which for the most part, Dorticos’ chin held up well against, that was of course until the twelfth which witnessed him finally succumb to the velocity of the shots, visiting the canvas three times before the fight was called to a halt.
To the victor goes the spoils, a sentiment that was received on the night by Gassiev, both albeit spent were humble afterwards, giving props for the effort put forth in one of this years best, Gassiev even going further in an act of great sportsmanship by returning Dorticos’ title back to him.
The World Boxing Super Series has been a breath of fresh air needed, presenting us with an answer to the debate that raged on beforehand of who was the best fighter in the cruiserweight/Super Middleweight division.
Swapping the cold climates for Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, in the case of the cruisers, I’m pleased that we will get a definitive answer on May 11th, a date which cant come quick enough, potentially signalling one of the best fights of 2018.
Best of the Rest….
Gassiev albeit impressive had competition for this section, following on from the Oleksandr (Usyk) pick last week, we had the privilege of witnessing WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa who threw his hat into the ring for FOTW by beating Moises Fuentes, following in the footsteps of his countryman Kosei Tanaka who also stopped the Mexican.
Higa is another killer from Asia who British fight fans will want to keep an eye on as a future opponent for Andrew Selby.
Its always an exciting time when Jerwin Ancajas fights, again drawing the comparison with his multi-title winning countryman Manny Pacquiao, giving another sterling display in his tenth round stoppage of Israel Gonzalez.
Ancajas as tried to stray from the comparison being made, wanting to make his own path to greatness but it becomes difficult with every win to pull away from his compatriot.
Last but not least is the candidate of Middleweight Gilberto Ramirez who kept his WBO Super middleweight title reign intact with a sixth-round TKO of Habib Ahmed.
The Mexican who continues to pick up the pieces of the fighters not included in the Super Series will have an eager eye on the victor with thoughts on proving his opinion that he is the division’s king.
This wraps up my edition of FOTW as we look forward to another busy week of action, keep em coming.