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Photos: Denis Lebedev, Murat Gassiev Ready For Moscow War

By Jake Donovan

Regardless of Saturday's outcome, Denis Lebedev will remain a cruiserweight champ.

lebedev-gassiev-weights

The defending unified titlist squares off versus unbeaten mandatory challenger Murat Gassiev, with both boxers making weight ahead of Saturday's hotly anticipated clash at the Khodynka Ice Palace in Moscow, Russia. Lebedev (29-2, 22KOs) was just under the 200-pound cruiserweight limit, checking in at 199.7 lbs. Gassiev (23-0, 17KOs) came in at a trim  and ready 198.3 lbs. for his first world title fight. '

lebedev-gassiev-weights

The stakes, however, are much lighter than was anticipated by the challenger and his team when initially signing on for the bout. 

murat-gassiev

As suggested by BoxingScene.com Director of Operations Rick Reeno earlier this week, the World Boxing Association (WBA) "Super" cruiserweight title will not be at stake this weekend. Lebedev and his promoter - Andriy Ryabinsky's World of Boxing - successfully lobbied for just the International Boxing Federation (IBF) to be on the line this weekend, while having the WBA recognize the bout as a non-title affair. 

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Gassiev - who became the IBF mandatory with a frightening 1st round knockout of Jordan Shimmell this past May - and his team were caught off guard by the move, but will still move forward with the bout in present form. 

chahkiev-vlasov

Lebedev, meanwhile, has his work cut out for him both on Saturday and in the months ahead. By agreeing to cling on the to WBA belt by any means necessary, the 37-year old southpaw will now inherit another mandatory challenger for his next title defense, as - regardless of Saturday's outcome, short of a career-threatening ending - he will be on the hook to face the forthcoming winner of the ordered consolidation bout between "regular" titlist Beibut Shumenov and "interim" beltholder Yunier Dorticos. 

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In regard to the bout itself, it will mark Lebedev's first defense of the IBF belt. He claimed the strap in a 2nd round knockout of Victor Ramirez in their unification bout this past May. 

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Twitter: @JakeNDaBox_v2

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Tobi.G on 12-02-2016

Two powerful, tough russians going at it, its gonna be exciting! Hope Gassiev shows hes for real and wins this fight. Lebedev looks in great shape though. I dont think he drank to mutch vodka in the last weeks, just…

Comment by RuslanChagaev on 12-02-2016

Lebedev and Gassiev looks great. Rakhim Chakiev - Maksim Vlasov fight will be so close. If Rakhim does not have that condition problem, he'll be winner.

Comment by OctoberRed on 12-02-2016

No wonder there was no pre-fight testing

Comment by 1hourRun on 12-02-2016

Lebedev and Rakim look like they are on gear.

Comment by dan_cov on 12-02-2016

Rakhim looking shredded. Back to cause me more heartache :headbang:

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (6)
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