IBF world cruiserweight champion Murat Gassiev (25-0, 18 KOs) is training very hard for his scheduled unification with WBA champion Yunier Dorticos (22-0, 21 KOs).
Their fight is a semi-final bout in the cruiserweight edition of the World Boxing Super Series.
Gassiev has the home field advantage, as the contest is scheduled to take place at the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Sochi, Russia on February 3, 2018.
Gassiev, listed as the tournament's second seed, earned his spot in the semi-final when he blew away Krzysztof Wlodarczyk in New Jersey in October with a crushing body shot to produce a third round knockout.
Dorticos aka ‘The KO Doctor’, is the tournament’s fourth seed, and he impressed in his quarter-final bout with a devastating knockout victory in the third round over Gassiev's countryman, Dmitri Kudryashov in San Antonio in September.
Very few fans and expects believe this contest will last the full distance. They expect one of these fighters to lay on their back by the end of the night.
Gassiev is not taking any chances in the bout.
He is working on a twelve round strategy with his veteran trainer, Abel Sanchez, in Big Bear, California.
"The preparation for this fight is in full swing. A general physical foundation has been laid out. Everything is going as usual... running, endurance exercises, working with weights. A little later, the sparring sessions will begin," Gassiev said.
"As always, I am preparing for 12 rounds of heavy fighting, because the opponent is very serious and there is no way that I can underestimate him. We are looking over several fights involving Dorticos, including against Kalenga and Kudryashov, and we'll draw certain conclusions."
In the other semi-final bout, WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk will collide with WBC champion Mairis Briedis - and then the winners of the two semi-final bouts will clash with four world titles at stake.
The cruiserweight final of the World Boxing Super Series will take place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in May 2018.