By Luke Furman
IBF cruiserweight champion Murat Gassiev is looking to do some heavy fisted damage on February 3rd, when he faces WBA world champion Yunier Dorticos (22-0, 21 KOs) at the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Sochi, Russia.
Their contest is a semi-final bout in the cruiserweight edition of the World Boxing Super Series.
Gassiev (25-0, 18 KOs) gained the homefield advantage, but it's a fight where either boxer is capable of ending the fight with one punch.
Gassiev, the second seed of the tournament, earned his spot in the semi-final when he blew away Polish Krzysztof Wlodarczyk in New Jersey in October with a powerful performance to produce a third-round KO.
Dorticos, who is the tournament’s fourth seed, impressed in his quarter-final with a devastating KO victory in the third round over Russian Dmitri Kudryashov in San Antonio in September.
The cruiserweight final of the World Boxing Super Series will take place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in May 2018.
Gassiev really looks forward to fight before his family and friends, who are going to pack the venue. The Russian puncher is currently hard at work, training in Big Bear, California with head trainer Abel Sanchez.
"I am very glad that the fight will be held in Russia. A lot of people will have the opportunity to come watch me in Sochi, including my family," Gassiev said to Oleg Bogatov.
"I feel a huge responsibility by fighting in Russia, I have the most positive expectations, it's very good that I managed to get this fight to Russia. For Russian boxing this is a very significant event.
"I hope to win in the semi-final and go to the final match in Saudi Arabia. I arrived in the United States a few weeks ago to start training, to select sparring partners and then engage in sparring."
Luke Furman covers boxing for bokser.org.