By Igor Lazorin, tass
On Saturday night in Moscow, Russia - Murat Gassiev (24-0-1, 17KOs) won a twelve round split decision over Denis Lebedev (29-3, 22KOs) to capture the IBF cruiserweight title. The scores were 114-113 for Lebedev, 116-112 for Gassiev and 116-111 for Gassiev.
Lebedev went down hard in the fifth round after taking a very big shot to his liver. Lebedev admits the fight was very close, but he felt he won the fight or it should have been a draw.
"The fight was close, but it seemed to me that I had won or least I could have been given a draw," Lebedev said. "That punch to the liver prevented [me from fighting my fight]. If it wasn't for that I would have been more convincing. I started excellently, I thought I had that fight in the pocket."
Now Lebedev wants to get his chance at revenge by facing Gassiev for a second time in 2017. There was no rematch clause in place, because the fight with Gassiev was a mandatory title defense.
"Of course I want [a rematch]," said Lebedev. "This is the normal desire of every athlete."
Promoter Leon Margules of Warriors Boxing, who promote Gassiev in the United States, is willing to entertain the idea of a rematch - if Lebedev will stake his WBA cruiserweight world title. Leading into this fight, Lebedev refused to stake his WBA title - so only the IBF belt was at stake, as Gassiev was the mandatory challenger to that particular belt. The sanctioning body approved Lebedev's request to view the contest as a non-title affair.
"We are ready to put together a rematch, but if Lebedev's team are willing to put the WBA belt on the line," said Margules. "Otherwise, it does not make sense for us."