Advertisement: IBO Boxing

Oleksandr Usyk-Murat Gassiev: Afterthoughts

by Cliff Rold

If one tuned in to see a two-way battle, it turned out those thrills had already happened in the semi-finals.

Instead, last Saturday in Moscow, boxing got a master class. As the first World Boxing Super Series came to a close, there was no debate about scores, no endless debate about a round here or there.

The winner was crystal clear. So is the identity of the cruiserweight champion of the world. Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk, in three road fights, left no doubt. A fighter who many buzzed about almost as soon as he turned professional, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist at heavyweight validated every ounce of his perceived upside.

It was the sort of technical mastery of a proven opponent that we only see every so often, his equivalent of Floyd Mayweather-Diego Corrales. Usyk took a dangerous, heavy-handed opponent with some real credentials and spent most of twelve rounds defusing him. 

At the end of every big fight, the question of what’s next is a gimme’. In the case of Usyk, it’s one asked with peak curiosity.

Let’s get into it.

usyk-gassiev-fight (22)

The Future for Usyk: From the sound of things, what’s immediately next for Usyk might be the UK’s Tony Bellew, a former cruiserweight titlist now competing in the unlimited class. Coming off a pair of career altering wins over David Haye, Bellew has never held more value. Whether they fight at cruiserweight, or in a post-WBSS heavyweight debut for Usyk, it doesn’t matter. Assume heavyweight is where Usyk is headed sooner than later. If the assumption is flawed, it would be career malpractice. Already 31, Usyk doesn’t need to waste time. At 6’3, not having to make 200 lbs. anymore, he would be a lighter heavyweight but a natural one by almost any era’s standard. The footwork, boxing ability, and ring IQ Usyk displayed against Gassiev would serve him well. Could he outbox Deontay Wilder and avoid the explosive power puncher’s best shots? Could he maneuver around the much larger but also more flat-footed Anthony Joshua? Maybe he could. Maybe not. Let’s find out. Few of the cruiserweight champions since Evander Holyfield have looked like they could truly threaten to become the king of all boxing: the heavyweight champion of the world. Usyk raised the possibility last weekend.

The Future for Gassiev: Gassiev began the fight as he had in his previous two toughest assignments, Denis Lebedev and Yunier Dorticos: slowly. He did what he usually does, landing with blunt force sparingly with an eye on upping the punishment as the rounds wore on. Usyk never let him. The Ukrainian never stepped off the gas and when Gassiev did land big stuff he found out Usyk could take it. It’s not like Gassiev never had moments. He got Usyk’s attention more than once but could never sustain his attacks because Usyk wouldn’t let him. Just because Gassiev couldn’t get the job done last weekend doesn’t mean he’s an easy task for anyone else at cruiserweight, or heavyweight if the big punching Russian elects to move up eventually. Still only in his mid-20s, Gassiev has lots of fight left to give and room still to improve. The now former unified titlist will be back. Last Saturday, he just met a better man.  

Rold Picks 2018: 25-10 (Including pick in Munguia-Smith)

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by Banderivets on 07-25-2018 pitty pat eh ? You can see the punches reverberating through Murats body . Considering the sheer volume of these 7/10 punches that is devastating .

Comment by Marvlus Marv on 07-25-2018

[QUOTE=Andrij;18965831]Loma´s previous victims also looked as if they didn't wanted it badly enough. Its just the style which makes their opponents frustrated & confused by mid rounds and then they already surrendered mentally.[/QUOTE] I take your point about their opponents…

Comment by Bronx2245 on 07-25-2018

[QUOTE=Andrij;18965713]Tell that GGG ! MAN UP ! MOVE UP TO 168. Why GGG is scared to move up like Loma & Usyk are doing it ?[/QUOTE]Because no one @ 168 brings as much money as Canelo!

Comment by Andrij on 07-25-2018

[QUOTE=Banderivets;18965861]Cheers:beerchug: Gotta give it up to the training camp. This gives a great perspective into how important proper coaching is, and how bad the Breidis camp was.[/QUOTE] Usyk says that he would rather fight Bellew at Heavyweight. He is probably…

Comment by Banderivets on 07-25-2018

[QUOTE=Andrij;18965827]BIG INTERVIEW WITH USYK AFTER THE FIGHT. RECORDED ON MONDAY [url][/url][/QUOTE] Cheers:beerchug: Gotta give it up to the training camp. This gives a great perspective into how important proper coaching is, and how bad the Breidis camp was.

Top Headlines
Boxing Without Boxing: Michael Carbajal vs. Muangchai Kittikasem: 07/29/90 Oleksandr Khyzhniak Elected To AIBA Athlete's Commission Joseph Parker: Oleksandr Usyk is a Fighter I Want To Fight! Kell Brook: Terence Crawford Wants The Fight, Arum Does Too Boxing Grinds To a Halt: The Present, The Past, and The Future Mike Tyson Explains That Wilder Has a Chance To Shock Fury Amir Khan Makes Big Donation To Pakistan in Coronavirus Battle Amanda Serrano Continues To Train Hard For Katie Taylor UFC's White: Everybody is Running and Hiding, I'm Looking For Solutions Pacquiao in Quarantine After Contact With Politician Who Tested Positive Billy Joe Saunders Apologizes For Domestic Violence Video WBSS Fantasy Tournament: Mike Tyson Blasts George Foreman in Four Whyte: Joshua Wasn't Serious About Rematch, Used Me as Scapegoat Meng Fanlong: I Saw Weaknesses In Beterbiev In Fight Versus Gvozdyk Matchroom Boxing Donates Event Tickets To NHS Staff Haye: After Witherspoon Fight, You Wouldn't Think Usyk Could Beat Fury, AJ Froch: You've Got To Put Fury As No. 1 Heavyweight, Ahead Of Joshua Teofimo Lopez: Gervonta Davis Has No Discipline; It's Catching Up To Him Saunders: If Canelo Fight's Not Meant To Happen For Me, Not Meant To Happen Daily Bread Mailbag: Atlas Ripping Ruiz, Wilder's Loss, Klitschko-Lewis Kal Yafai on Loss To Chocolatito, Rematch Clause, Moving Up WBC Prez: We All Have To Do Our Part To Prevent Coronavirus Spread Quentin Tarantino Breaks Down His Top 5 Boxing Movies Nelson Warns: Writing Joshua Off in Fury Fight is a Fatal Mistake! 50 Classic YouTube Boxing Clips Margarito Admits He Underestimated Pacquiao, Fight Should Have Been Stopped Parker Tabs Tyson Fury as "The Best Heavyweight of Our Era" David Benavidez Staying Active, Still Hopes For Hometown Defense Abner Mares Will Work With Manny Robles, Parts With Robert Garcia Longtime Cut Man, Trainer Nelson Cuevas Dies At 80 From Coronavirus Fury Donates Thousands of Electrolyte Drinks To Assist NHS in Coronavirus Battle WBSS Fantasy Tournament: Muhammad Ali Stops Liston in Five Munguia: Canelo is The Best Mexico Has, Why The Haters? Froch, Macklin Back Fury as Top Man at Heavyweight, Explain Why Oscar De La Hoya Donates 250K in The Fight Against Coronavirus Srisaket Sor Rungvisai: I'm Happy for Chocolatito, I Want Estrada WBSS Fantasy Tournament: Ali To Face Liston in Semi-Final, Frazier is Out Joet Gonzalez: I'm Going To Do Everything In My Power To Stay Active Trainer: No Matter What, Jose Ramirez Will Train Hard And Stay Ready Billy Joe Saunders: Reynoso, Canelo 'Do Good Meat Out There As Well'
Latest Forum Threads