By Igor Lazorin, tass
Russia's Murat Gassiev views the upcoming cruiserweight finale of the World Super Series of Boxing (WBSS), against Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk as the most important fight of his career.
The battle will be held July 21 in Moscow. Initially, the contest was scheduled for May 11 in Saudi Arabia, but it was postponed because of a training injury to Usyk.
"Since 2016, after the fight with Denis Lebedev, every subsequent match for me is the most important one," Gassiev wrote, "I understand perfectly well that the upcoming fight is the most important in my life because it is coming at the height of my career. The fight for the title of the absolute world champion - this is my dream and now it is one month and one fight away."
The winner of the contest will have the WBO, WBA, IBF, WBC cruiserweight belts.
Gassiev does not believe that he's holding any advantage due to the contest taking place in Moscow.
"I refer to the discussions already coming down, that it is unfair to hold a fight in the country of one of the participants in the finals, that Usyk can practically get poisoned and so on... of course this is complete nonsense," Gassiev said.
"Professional athletes should be ready to go wherever the organizers say, and if the organizers of the series decide that it is necessary to hold a fight in Kiev, Berlin or on the moon - then I would be ready to fly there. I am sure that Usyk would have responded in the same way.
"Secondly, I really do not like that some have tried to get involved in our fight with some type of political clarification to create friction. We are athletes, not politicians and we do not need to be involved in any confrontation. We will find out which of us is the better boxer, and then shake hands. I think that in the Olympic Stadium, Usyk will have at least as many fans as I will. They know, love and support their own..... like Vasiliy Lomachenko, Gennady Golovkin."
Gassiev is the world champion of the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and the World Boxing Association (WBA). He has a record of 26 wins (19 by knockout) and no defeats. Usyk holds the world titles of the World Boxing Organization (WBO) and the World Boxing Council (WBC), and has a record of 14 wins (11 by knockout), and no defeats.