A tremendous cruiserweight showdown between Denis Lebedev and Murat Gassiev is in the works and Beibut Shumenov is not happy.
Lebedev (29-2, 22 KO) owns the IBF and WBA "Super" titles, giving him three obligatory opponents: WBA Champion Shumenov (17-2, 11 KO), Interim WBA Champion Yunier Dorticos (21-0, 20 KO), and IBF mandatory Gassiev (23-0, 17 KO). Shumenov alleges that Lebedev reneged on an agreement to face him within 120 days of Lebedev’s fight with Victor Ramirez, a fight which the WBA only allowed as a result of said agreement.
He and his team also claim that after the deadline had passed, Lebedev and his team petitioned the WBA for permission to face Gassiev, a petition both Shumenov and Dorticos objected to.
From an objective standpoint, Shumenov seems to have a case if his information is accurate. From a selfish and subjective standpoint, he is by far the least compelling opponent for Lebedev among the three. Lebedev vs. Gassiev is an intriguing clash between boxer-punchers at different stages of their careers. Lebedev vs. Dorticos would be a legendary brawl just waiting to happen. Lebedev vs. Shumenov would have the visceral satisfaction of seeing a murderous puncher take on a fan-unfriendly challenger but not much else.
In any event, Gassiev’s currently first in line. Too much, too soon, or can the twenty-two-year-old take out one of the cruiserweight division’s most consistent and destructive elites?