By Steve Kim
Murat Gassiev, the IBF cruiserweight champion, has been hard at work at the Summit Gym in Big Bear - working alongside stablemate Gennady Golovkin - where he prepares for his upcoming bout against Krzystof Wlodarczyk, which is part of the eight-man cruiserweight tournament in the inaugural edition of 'the World Boxing Super Series'.
"I'm very excited because this is a good tournament, good opportunity for boxers to be unified champion. I'm ready for this moment and I'm looking forward to winning," said Gassiev after his days training on Wednesday afternoon.
Gassiev is part of a star-studded cast at cruiserweight which includes the likes of Oleksandr Usyk (the WBO belt-holder), Yunier Dorticos (who has a portion of the WBA belt), Mairis Briedis (the WBC champion) along with the hard-hitting Dmitry Kudryashov and the likes of Marco Huck, who was a long-reigning champion.
"I think I'm the first boxer who signed the contract for this tournament," said Gassiev (24-0, 17 KO's), who was more than willing to participate in this single-elimination format."Of course I agreed(to join) with no problem."
With such a loaded field, just about anyone can come away with the Muhammad Ali Trophy which will be awarded to the winner( along with millions of dollars). When asked if there was anyone in particular he would like to face, Gassiev answered,"I just want to win this tournament, I'm ready for anyone."
But if he should come out on top, would Gassiev then move up to heavyweight?
"I don't know, I might stay at cruiserweight and have a couple of defenses,"said Gassiev, who still says he has some unfinished business."Maybe I'll fight Denis Lebedev again because it wasn't a good situation on December 3rd because first contract was for two belts but before the day of the fight it was only one belt. I need my belt."
Steve Kim is the news editor for BoxingScene.com