Undefeated Russian Murat Gassiev retained his International Boxing Federation cruiserweight world title Saturday with a spectacular third-round knockout of former world champion Krzysztof Wlodarczyk Newark, New Jersey.
Gassiev followed a left uppercut to the head with a brutal left hook to the body that put the two-time world champion from Poland down for the count at 1:57 of the third round.
"I had a great chance and I used it," said Gassiev, who was making his first defense of the title he took in December with a split-decision victory over Russian southpaw Denis Lebedev in Moscow.
Wlodarczyk offered up no excuses in the contest.
"We worked hard to try to avoid this kind of punch but unfortunately he got a really hard shot through and hurt me," said Wlodarczyk. "We knew how good he was and we prepared hard for it. I wanted to use the jab as much as possible. My strength is the second part of the fight and we were hoping to bring him to the later part of the fight and take advantage."
The bout was a quarter-final of the World Boxing Super Series tournament, and with the victory Gassiev -- who improved to 25-0 with 18 knockouts -- set up a semi-final against unbeaten World Boxing Association champion Yunier Dorticos of Cuba.
Gassiev says his goal is to unify the entire cruiserweight division at the end of this tournament, and then move up to the heavyweight division in search of more gold and glory.
He admits that he wants the big fights at heavyweight with champions like Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder and Joseph Parker.
“First of all I want to be unified champion in cruiserweight division and after I want to move up to heavyweight division. I think only about this tournament, and after we will see what happens," Gassiev said.
He also moved away from comparisons to middleweight king Gennady Golovkin. The two are training partners and both are handled by coach Abel Sanchez.
“I can’t say I’m next Golovkin, [or] I’m next Tyson, I need to be Murat Gassiev and that’s it," Gassiev said.