Today at 1:45 pm ET on ITV4 in the United Kingdom, Super Channel in Canada, and hopefully again streaming on YouTube for U.S. viewers, the World Boxing Super Series continues in Russia, with cruiserweight titleholders Murat Gassiev and Yunier Dorticos meeting.
Gassiev (25-0, 18 KO) is defending the IBF title, and Dorticos (22-0, 21 KO) defending the WBA belt. The winner moves on to meet WBC and WBO titleholder Oleksandr Usyk in the tournament final this spring.
To get here, Gassiev knocked out Krzysztof Wlodarczyk in the third round last October, while Dorticos stopped Dmitry Kudryashov in two in September. Both can punch, and this matchup has some Fight of the Year-type ingredients on paper.
Hopefully, we’ll be able to bring you live coverage this afternoon, but if not, it’s a place for everyone to talk about the fight live as it goes down. This is one worth tuning in to see.
MURAT GASSIEV vs YUNIER DORTICOS
Round 1: Oleksandr Usyk is ringside, all smiles. Well, some smiles and some lunatic stares. Both sticking jabs out in the first minute. Dorticos unleashes the first right hand, it’s short. Two good body shots from Gassiev, then Dorticos presses back. Dorticos is the man coming forward, but Gassiev is fighting well off the back foot so far, landing some nice body shots. Good hook to the body from Dorticos, who is probably landing more shots. Right hand up top from Gassiev gets a rise from the crowd. Good opening round, nothing spectacular but consistent action. Dorticos 10-9
Round 2: Gassiev with another good body shot. Dorticos comes back with one of his own. He’s headhunting largely, but his best shots have been to the body so far, too. Another right to the body from Dorticos. Back to the body again goes Dorticos. Gassiev with a shot to the body and a jab up top. Another right to the body from Gassiev. This is great fun if you love hard body shots. Gassiev with a hook-uppercut combo from the left hand. Sweeping right from Gassiev, but Dorticos eats it. Another hook and uppercut. Dorticos taking all of this really well. Another body shot from Gassiev. This is a fight! Gassiev 10-9, 19-19
Round 3: Gassiev landing his right hands really nicely. He’s seen an opening and taken advantage. But Dorticos will not budge. Gassiev with a jab to the body. Body shot from Gassiev. He’s blocking almost everything coming in to the head from Dorticos. A right hand does break through the guard, but Gassiev takes it and moves off the ropes. Dorticos using his jab to try and set something up, but Gassiev isn’t biting on anything yet. Still, the jab is busy and Dorticos is the guy coming forward still. Gassiev with another right hand around the side. Dorticos with a right to the body. Gassiev 10-9, 29-28
Round 4: Dorticos keeping that jab moving. It’s not landing a lot, but it’s keeping Gassiev from doing more. Gassiev trying to find some openings, but there’s always Dorticos’ big right hand to come behind that jab if he makes a mistake. Gassiev with a left hook. Dorticos has a goddamn brick wall of a chin. Body shots from Gassiev. Dorticos with a counter left-right, but a bit short. Gassiev with a counter right that is on the button. I feel like Dorticos has made himself very predictable here, and Gassiev is taking advantage. Hard exchange to end the round. I like Dorticos staying busy with the jab, but Gassiev is landing the more meaningful shots and playing good defense. Gassiev 10-9, 39-37
Round 5: Gassiev with a good left to the body quickly. Right to the body from Gassiev. Right hand and a left uppercut from Gassiev. Stats have Dorticos outlanding Gassiev, I believe it said, but most lot of that has to be on jabs, and Dorticos just hasn’t dented Gassiev yet at all, and his power shots haven’t made any difference other than a few good body shots. Gassiev with an uppercut again. Left hook lands. The best shots are almost all from Gassiev. Left hook and a right hand. Dorticos may be hurt a bit! Dorticos clinches and gets out of the round. Gassiev 10-9, 49-46
Round 6: Dorticos still putting the jab out there, but Gassiev is finding a home for his power shots. Dorticos has been sort of a one-trick pony without the trick in this fight. Uppercut from Gassiev, right hand behind it doesn’t get there. Dorticos starting to get backed up now. Hook from Gassiev pushes Dorticos back again. He’s clearly feeling the power from the Russian. Not that he’s lost confidence in his own power, but I think he’s being broken down some. Dorticos sort of reminds me of Randall Bailey in this fight. He’s really got great power, but he’s not landing power shots, and it’s hard for him to get rounds, since he’s almost exclusively focused on landing those power shots. Gassiev 10-9, 59-55
Round 7: Hard left to the body from Gassiev, Dorticos felt that clearly. Dorticos is very tough — a lot of guys would’ve been stopped by Gassiev at this point, taking the shots Dorticos has throughout this fight. Gassiev doubles up on the jab. Right hand from Gassiev lands, and he dances away after. Left uppercut from Gassiev partially lands. Dorticos can’t get anything real going here. He’s being outboxed and outfought. Gassiev 10-9, 69-64
Round 8: Stats show Gassiev outlanding Dorticos in power punches by a healthy margin, which has been clear and, to me, the story of the fight. This is a bit slower of a round, Gassiev perhaps looking to conserve some energy. Dorticos with a nice right to the body. This round has been slow enough for Dorticos to take it without doing a whole lot really effectively, because Gassiev somewhat took the round off. Dorticos 10-9, Gassiev 78-74
Round 9: Right to the body from Gassiev, after more of Dorticos’ right hands fail to get home. Chopping right from Gassiev ends a three-punch combo. Basically in trying to make Dorticos seem “in this fight,” we have to focus on the fact that he largely continues to come forward, but when Gassiev switches it up and moves forward, Dorticos is plenty inclined to back down now. Gassiev with two body shots and an uppercut. HARD left to the body from Gassiev, that could’ve been a fight ender, but man is Dorticos a tough SOB. Another uppercut from Gassiev. He’s back in the groove this round. Gassiev 10-9, 88-83
Round 10: Another good round for Gassiev, as he continues to dish out punishment while Dorticos can’t get his own offense going at all. Dorticos has had one gear tonight, and it hasn’t worked against Gassiev. Gassiev 10-9, 98-92
Round 11: Gassiev with more sweeping rights, coming around the side, then landing uppercuts with both hands, which he’s done all night. Dorticos continues to fire that right hand as if finally one may land, and frankly that’s about the only chance he has at this point, as long as my score is close to what the judges have. Gassiev on the back foot now, but Dorticos’ aggression is effective only in that Gassiev is moving back a bit. Then he comes forward with a right hand, a left hook, and an uppercut. None of it landed clean, but it backed Dorticos up. Dorticos hurt now! He’s holding sloppily and trying to survive! 20 seconds to go in the round, and Dorticos may have gotten his legs back. He was, as commentary says, “rocked down to his boots.” Another uppercut from Gassiev. Gassiev 10-9, 108-101
Round 12: Well, I think it’s now or never for Dorticos, but a guy like him, it’s never “never” until the final bell has sounded. Stats have Gassiev outlanding Dorticos almost 2-to-1 in power punches entering the round (119-66). Dorticos is sloppy at this point. Hard right from Gassiev. Then another chopping right. HUGE LEFT HOOK AND DOWN GOES YUNIER DORTICOS! MONSTER SHOT! Dorticos is up somehow! He’ll try to fight on! DORTICOS DOWN AGAIN JUST MOMENTS AFTER THE ACTION RESUMES! He has no legs left. That hook was a wrecker. On we fight again. Gassiev trying to finish! Dorticos trying to hold his ground! Eddie Claudio giving Dorticos every chance. Dorticos being rocked around, but HE CAN’T STAY UP, KNOCKED DOWN AGAIN AND THROUGH THE ROPES, REFEREE STOPS IT! Gassiev TKO-12