By Igor Lazorin, tass
IBF, WBA cruiserweight champion Murat Gassiev is a few months away from the biggest fight of his career - but he has a bigger goal in mind.
Last Saturday night in Sochi, Gassiev knocked out undefeated Cuban puncher Yunier Dorticos in the twelfth round to unify the WBA, IBF world titles - and in the process he reached the World Boxing Super Series finals.
Up next, a full division unification against WBC, WBO world champion Oleksandr Usyk of Ukraine. The fight will take place on May 11 in Saudi Arabia.
After Gassiev (26-0, 19 KOs) goes through with his upcoming bout, he hopes to try his hand at the heavyweight division - where the current worlds champions are Anthony Joshua, Joseph Parker and Deontay Wilder.
"I would like to change my weight division, go to heavyweight, because it is the most prestigious... I want to try my hand there. At the moment, I'm still in the cruiserweight division and I need to win my next fight to become the absolute champion of the world, and then we will see," said Gassiev.
When Gassiev arrived back home to his homeland in North Ossetia, he was met at the airport by more than 3 thousand residents of the republic, as well as a delegation from South Ossetia - according to the press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for North Ossetia, citing police officers who provide security at the airport.
"To meet the champion at Beslan airport, more than 3 thousand people arrived. They were waiting for his arrival from Sochi for several hours," the spokesman said.
Gassiev was overwhelmed with emotion from the huge turnout.
"Thank you all for arriving and meeting me at this late hour, this is our common victory. I felt your support from the stands during the fight. I saw our flags of Alania, it was very pleasant," Gassiyev stated while he addressed the crowd.