By Igor Lazorin, tass
IBF, WBA cruiserweight world champion Murat Gassiev of Russia promised "an excellent fight for everyone" with WBO, WBC champion Oleksandr Usyk of Ukraine.
On February 3 in Sochi, Gassiev knocked out Yunier Dorticos of Cuba by TKO in the twelfth round to unify the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and the World Boxing Association (WBA) titles, and in the process he earned his place in the final bout of the World Boxing Super Series tournament.
The final of the WBSS is scheduled for May 11 in Saudi Arabia.
Gassiev admitted that he's watched Usyk's fights when the two of them were amateur boxers and considers him to be a strong athlete.
"I will not look into the future, but I am confident that this fight will be excellent for everyone, at least I will try to do everything I can. And whether it will be difficult or easy, I will answer this question after the fight," Gassiev said. "He is one of the strongest athletes in my weight class."
The confidence in Gassiev's victory was expressed by his promoter, Ural Boxing Promotions director Alexei Vasiliev, who handles the boxer with Warriors Boxing in the United States.
"I have always believed in Murat and I will believe in him to the end. I believe that he will win, although it will be a hard fight, because the opponent is very experienced, cunning, has many abilities. But Murat wins, he find the keys to beat anyone," Gassiev assured.
Gassiev will begin his preparations for the fight March, according to Vasiliev.
The Russian fighter is handled by veteran coach Abel Sanchez of Big Bear, California in the United States.
Gassiev shook off some tense early moments in the contest with Dorticos, to batter the Cuban boxer down the stretch.
"We were all worried, the first rounds were hard, something did not work out, but Murat did not miss any of his big attacks, maybe it was tactic I do not know. They are building it together with Abel, and Murat will start preparations for the battle with Usyk in March, and we are confident of victory," Vasiliev said.