Murat Gassiev’s heavyweight debut is proving more difficult to put together than Oleksandr Usyk. “Iron” has reportedly withdrawn from his planned bout with Jerry Forrest on the February 29th Mikey Garcia-Jessie Vargas card in Frisco. His team cites concerns with his preparation and the contract, confirming an earlier report from ESPN’s Steve Kim.
Gassiev (26-1, 19 KO) has not fought since falling to Usyk in the WBSS finals back in July of 2018; he’d previously smashed Krzysztof Wlodarczyk and future Season 2 finalist Yuniel Dorticos in impressive fashion.. He’d originally intended to face Joey Dawejko on last July’s Jose Ramirez-Maurice Hooker card, but injured his shoulder just nine days before fight night.
The 27-year-old Russian is eminently watchable and profoundly destructive, so it sucks to see him languish on the shelf during his prime years. May whatever eldritch curse or mundane frustrations that ail him be banished.
The DAZN show still features a pair of terrific lower-weight title fights, Kal Yafai vs. Roman Gonzalez and Julio Cesar Martinez vs. Jay Harris, alongside the latest from Israil Madrimov and Joseph Parker.