The World Boxing Super Series served up another great night of boxing in Sochi, Russia. Murat Gassiev (26-0,19KOs) produced a stunning performance against Yunier Dorticos (22-1, 21KOs) to win the semi-final and add the WBA belt to his IBF world cruiserweight title.
The undefeated Russian will now take his place in the final against WBO and WBC champion Oleksandr Usyk on May 11 at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Bright start from Dorticos
Dorticos also known as ‘The KO Doctor’ established a healthy lead, winning three of the first four rounds. The Cuban born 31-year old stalked Gassiev using his jab and right hand cross to good effect. Granted he was caught with a few eye catching shots but his aggressive style caused Gassiev problems.
Gassiev starts to take control
From the fifth round onwards it was all about the 24-year old Russian who was fighting on the back foot well but started to take the centre of the ring. The right hand and left uppercut combination continued to find the target in the fifth and sixth.
Gassiev started to target the body in the seventh as the solid Cubans cast iron chin seemed to be impossible to crack. The eighth was a close round which I gave to Dorticos for good use of his jab.
Into the championship rounds we went and the Russian took complete control hitting the Cuban with some beautiful combinations. The left hook and uppercuts where landing flush but Dorticos just kept moving forward.
It was the eleventh round when the cracks started to show when Gassiev landed with a three punch combination that shook Dorticos to his heels but somehow he managed to survive the round.
17 seconds to go
In the final round the Sochi crowd favourite finally landed a wonderful looping left hand bang on the chin and put Dorticos down hard. The resilient Miami-based fighter managed to beat the count but was put down again with an emulation of punches.
An exhausted and bewildered Gassiev could not believe it when Dorticos beat the count again but with 17 seconds left Gassiev finally knocked his resilient opponent through the ropes to end the fight.
My two pennies worth
The World Boxing Super Series has been a huge success and the cruiserweight division has served up two stunning semi-finals. The final will be an entertaining watch but I’m not convinced with the venue in Saudi Arabia?
For me after witnessing the atmospheres in both Russia and Latvia it does not make sense the have the final away from Europe. I hope I am wrong but this could be a mistake.
On the undercard I have to mention Mikhali Aloyan’s (4-0, 0KOs) victory against Alexander Espinoza (15-1-1, 7KOs) it really was 10 terrific rounds of boxing.