The World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) tournament returns to America this Saturday night for the fourth and final cruiserweight division quarterfinals bout, when undefeated International Boxing Federation (IBF) champion Murat "Iron" Gassiev makes his first title defense against former two-time world champion Krzysztof "Diablo" Wlodarczyk. Photos by Stephanie Trapp/Ring Star
The 24-year-old Gassiev (24-0, 17 KOs) is a Russian who now lives and trains in the famed Big Bear, California. Last December, he won a 12-round split decision from Denis Lebedev (29-1) in Moscow to capture the IBF crown.
Wlodarczyk will have decisive advantages over Gassiev in several categories including invaluable experience in world title fights (8-2-1, 4 KOs) and five victories against present or past world champions - Steve Cunningham, Giacobbe Fragomeni (twice), Danny Green and Imamu Mayfield - and he'll also have the strong support of his fellow Poles who live on the East Coast.
A former IBF (2006-2007) and World Boxing Council (2009-2014) title holder, Wlodarczyk has fought his way back into title contention, winning his last four against opponents with a combined record of 115-12.
The Gassiev-Wlodarczyk winner will advance to the WBSS semifinals early next year for a world title unification showdown with unbeaten World Boxing Association (WBA) champion Yunier Dorticos (21-0, 20 KOs), who last month knocked out previously undefeated Dmitry Kudryashov (21-0, 21 KOs), of Russia, in their WBSS quarterfinals match.
The 10-round co-feature is a WBSS Substitute Fight between Polish cruiserweight Mateusz "Master" Masternak (39-4, 26 KOs), the former European titlist and Interim world title challenger, and Albania-born Stivens "Superman" Bujaj (16-1-1, 11 KOs), who lives in the United States.
Other undercard bouts scheduled include former Interim WBA world champion and 2008 Olympian "Golden" Jack Culcay (22-2, 11 KOs) vs. undefeated Polish junior middleweight Maciej Sulecki (25-0, 10 KOs).