Usyk vs Gassiev – Preview + Prediction

Usyk vs Gassiev – Preview + Prediction

Well it has took a while to get here but finally it is fight week for the World Boxing Super Series Cruiserweight Final in Russia between Oleksandr Usyk and Murat Gassiev . This will be the first time in ten years that the Cruiserweight division has seen a lineal champion . On Saturday night we will be treated to what may be the best fight of this year as there is very little to choose between these two elite level operators . You can take all the talk about splits and money that so often stops fights like this happening , this fight is what boxing is all about .

Oleksandr Usyk

Oleksandr Usyk is one of my favourite fighters to watch . Another product of the Ukrainian Boxing system this guy brings a little bit of Vasyl Lomachenko style to the big boy weights and i for one love it . Like Lomachenko , Usyk has been fast tracked due to his extensive experience as an top level amateur which has seen him have to learn on the job at times but each time he has found a way to win . Usyk’s big most valuable asset is his hi intensity work rate , he doesn’t just come forward but he comes in from the sides , constantly looking to back opponents up waiting for that moment where there concentration lapses and he can pounce . Most of Usyk’s work comes off the jab which disguises where his attack will come from , a technique that does seem to be a work in progress but one that the Ukrainian is close to mastering . Usyk proved in his last fight in the semi final against Mairus Briedis in Latvia that even when things aren’t working he can go to war and win , something that he may need to draw on come Saturday . Up until Usyk fought Briedis we hadn’t really seen him tested , and nobody ever really knows how someone will react when they are dragged into a battle . In that fight i thought Briedis was unlucky , he just fell short of the mark and showed Usyk can be very naive falling for the traps that Briedis had set and time and time agains Usyk walked on to big shots , something Usyk Cannot afford to do this weekend or it will be goodnight .

Murat Gassiev

Gassiev is someone who has benefited massively from the WBSS with his success in the tournament bringing him to front and centre in the division that is stacked with talent . Gassiev has a very fan friendly style as this boy can bang . In his last outing in the WBSS semi final he fought Doriticos , another top level Cruiserweight who gave Gassiev all sorts of problems early in the fight . I honestly thought Doriticos was on his way to a well earned victory after the first four rounds but Gassiev like any true elite level boxer showed what it takes to turn from a valiant loser into a gallant winner . That night Gassiev had every excuse to ditch his original game plan as he was being caught on the way in time and time again but he didn’t , he knew Doriticos would slow down the longer the fight went on . As the early freshness faded from Doriticos , he slowed that of a half second and Gassiev could get to work , landing the harder more punishing shots that gradually breaking Doriticos down . That night I couldn’t help but acknowledge that Gassiev must have the upmost confidence in his corner , to have the confidence to stick with a gameplan that didn’t look to be working the first quarter of the fight and make the slight adjustments shows his class . Gassiev isn’t the kind of technician Usyk is but that’s not to say Gassiev doesn’t have skills . A bit like like Usyk , Gassiev does his best work on the front foot , prodding , punching and breaking opponents down . Gassiev i really good at countering his opponents just as they launch an attack , and with Gassiev’s power that is a danger for anybody .

Prediction

This fight doesn’t just have the potential to be the best fight of this year , it has the potential to be the best fight for years top come , that is how highly i rate both these guys . Across all social media and boxing press everybody seems split as to how this fight will go . I think if Usyk makes the same mistakes he made against Briedis he will be stopped , he must show more patience and maybe not try and iniciante every exchange as that’s is when he will be vulnerable . Gassiev cannot go into this fight thinking Usyk will slow down like Doriticos , as i said before Usyk’s gas tank is his biggest asset . I can see this one going the distance with heart stopping moments for both sets of fans . I can see both guys having to dig deep and survive at points . From the start of the WBSS i have said Usyk will win the tournament and my pick hasn’t changed , but i do think it will be a lot closer than i first anticipated .

Usyk Split Decision

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“We Were Promised the Champions League of Boxing ….And They Have Delivered”

Last year when the World Boxing Super Series concept was announced it was described as going to be for boxing what the UEFA Champions League is for football (soccer if your one of my American readers) which at the time seemed like a massive claim but my god they have delivered it . Over the past two weekends we have been treated to the Cruiserweight Semi-Final’s , where all of the boxers where undefeated World Champions . In the space of seven days we seen two unifications featuring the four best in the division fight it out in two fantastic fights which see’s both winners go on to battle it out in the final , to see who is the undisputed champion …..this is exactly what boxing has been needing.

Usyk vs Briedis

This was a fight that i had been excited about for months , so much so i made the journey over to Riga , Latvia in the middle of winter . The Riga Arena was a fantastic venue for boxing but when you add in the very distinct set up of the WBSS and the electric  atmosphere in the arena , it was like nothing i had ever experienced before at any boxing event . A lot of pundits had predicted a snooze fest of a fight , but they couldn’t have been more wrong if they tried . From the start the local lad Briedis was there prove that Usyk was in for the toughest night of his career . Landing some fantastic shots on the Ukrainian throughout the full fight Mairis Briedis showed why he is an elite level fighter . There is no doubt in my mind Oleksandr Usyk had to dig deep within himself to start answering the questions being asked of him . This fight was a masterclass in technical boxing as we seen two men try to out skill the other whilst keeping the action coming fast . Usyk finally took the fight on the cards which i thought was fair , but the same score  for Briedis would have been fine in my book , that is how close this fight was , a fight i would love to see happen again.

.Gassiev vs Dorticos

The dust had hardly settled from the fantastic semi-final in Riga when we had the second semi-final , this time in Adler ,Russia . Murat Gassiev vs Yunier Dorticos had big shoes to fill going into there fight at the Bolshoy Ice Dome and my god did they fill them . Both men were classed as knockout artists so no one really thought this fight was going to go the distance . From the opening bell the Cuban Dorticos was stalking his Russian prey , with Gassiev choosing to back off and go for quality shots rather than quantity . Countless time throughout the fight Gassiev caught the Cuban with beautiful counters which were getting round Dorticos guard , showing exactly how tough this cuban was . The longer the fight went on the more the tide was turning toward the Russian . Time and time again Dorticos was eating shot after shot but all the time hanging in there like a true champion . That all came to an end in the 12th Round when Gassiev timed Dorticos coming in with a beautiful left hook which seen the Cuban go down . Dorticos tried in vain to fight on but the punishment he had took over the 12 rounds had finally caught up with him and as he went down a further twice before the ref stopped the fight .

After the fight in the post match press conference there was a touching moment of humility and sportsmanship . As Dorticos broke down whilst answering a question Murat Gassiev rose from his seat and made his way across to his opponent to embrace him . It was so refreshing to see two warriors keeping boxing a gentleman sport .

On To Jeddah

Now i for one cannot wait for 11th May to see Usyk vs Gassiev fight it out in the final . Two men who have came through very tough matches as Unified Champions of the world go to battle it out in Saudi Arabia . It really does promise to be a fantastic end to and extraordinary tourniment .