Denis Lebedev and Murat Gassiev put on the war everyone expected in Moscow’s Khodynka Ice Palace, battling it out over twelve grueling rounds. In the end, Gassiev’s power and body work overcame Lebedev’s combination punching for a split decision victory.
Gassiev (24-0, 17 KO) started slowly, allowing Lebedev (29-3, 22 KO) to rack up the early rounds with volumes, but began stalking in the fourth and put Lebedev down hard one round later with a vicious liver punch. It was trench warfare from then on, Gassiev’s brutal power shots against Lebedev’s movement and volume.
The fight really could have gone either way; Gassiev’s punches clearly had the greater impact, busting up Lebedev’s eyes and forcing him to reset, but Lebedev slipped some heavy punches through and seemed to rattle Gassiev with a straight left. The judges ultimately sided with "Iron," giving him the split decision on scores of 113-114, 116-112, and 116-111.
The latter two were definitely wide, but each man had an argument to win. Cracking fight.
Gassiev now holds the IBF Cruiserweight championship. Due to some political wrangling, Lebedev still holds his WBA "Super" title, putting him in line to face the winner of the planned bout between regular champ Beibut Shumenov and interim champ Yunier Dorticos.
The inimitable Caposa was on point with the .gifs for the rest of the card.
In the co-feature, Julius Indongo scored both an impressive upset and a Knockout of the Year candidate with a one-punch thumping of IBF champ Eduard Troyanovsky. Just forty seconds into the first round, Indongo (21-0, 11 KO) unleashed a wound-up bomb of a left that caught Troyanovsky (25-1, 22 KO) flush and knocked his lights out.
Indongo/Troyanovsky angle #2. Flattened pic.twitter.com/DN4bF6ZdIj— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) December 3, 2016
There was no T about this KO. This was a genuine, bona fide, head-slams-on-the-canvas, wham-bam-благодарим-вас-ма'am knockout. Nicely done.
Dmitry Kudryashov, my pick for hardest puncher in the sport, demolished former title challenger Santander Silgado in a grand total of ninety-four seconds. Kudryashov (20-1, 20 KO) flattened Silgado with the first left hook he landed and then, when Silgado (27-4, 21 KO) got up, hit him with the exact same punch to knock him cold.
DAMN. Dmitry Kudryashov crushes Santander Silgado. R1 - 1:34 pic.twitter.com/JtGz0HG26K— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) December 3, 2016
He’s slow, can’t cut the ring all that well, and hasn’t much defense to speak of, but Kudryashov hits like the fist of an angry god. Always worth a watch.
Finally, Rakhim Chakhkiev’s time as an elite cruiserweight may finally be over as Maxim Vlasov battered him over the course of seven rounds. Vlasov (37-2, 20 KO) dropped the former Olympic gold medalist five times before the referee stepped in, although he did go down on a peach of a body shot in the sixth. Chakhkiev (26-3, 19 KO) simply can’t take the kind of punishment his wild aggression demands he withstand; in his last five fights, he’s been dropped hard by Hamilton Ventura in a decision win, gone to sleep against Ola Afolabi, beaten two nobodies, and been thrashed by Vlasov.
You can watch Round Six and the finish below.