IBF cruiserweight champion Murat Gassiev takes on WBA cruiserweight kingpin Yunier Dorticos in the semifinals of the World Boxing Super Series’ cruiserweight division. The fight will be held at Bolshoy Ice Dome in Sochi, Russia on February 3rd, 2018.
The 24-year old Gassiev is the youngest member of the cruiserweight field. He has an impressive record of 25-0 with 28 knockouts. Gassiev has knocked out nine of his last 10 opponents, with only Denis Lebedev going the distance with him. In his most recent bout at the WBSS quarterfinals, he needed just three rounds to dispose of Krzysztopf Wlodarczyk.
Like Gassiev, Dorticos is unbeaten in 22 fights. The 31-year old Havana, Cuba native has knocked out all but one of his 22 opponents inside the ring. In his quarterfinals bout, Dorticos outslugged Dmitry Kudryashov in just two rounds to retain his belt and move on to the semifinals of this cruiserweight tournament.
Dorticos isn’t called the knockout doctor for nothing. Nine of his last 11 bouts have lasted four rounds or fewer and over the period, only Edison Miranda survived his powerful straight. When you talk about pure power, Dorticos may be the top guy in this weight class. At 6-3 and with a reach of 80 inches, Dorticos has excellent size for a cruiserweight.
But Gassiev is also a behemoth himself. He is 6-3 with a reach of 76 inches. Gassiev likes to pressure his opponents. He loves to come forward with hard, compact punches that have one-punch knockout power. Gassiev may have the most feared right hand in the division and at just 24, he has the chance to become the man to beat at this weight class.
Gassiev is the slight favorite here at -150 while Dorticos the underdog at +120. This has the makings of a classic with two big punchers carrying unbeaten records going head to head. It also has the potential to be an early fight of the year candidate because these punchers have a high knockout ratio.
But as far as picking a winner here, we’re going with the betting favorite Gassiev. Not only is he fighting on home turf, he is also the more skilled boxer between the two. While Dorticos can be sometimes wild with his punches and leave himself open for counters, Gassiev throws compact and powerful punches without sacrificing his defense.
Dorticos’ size has always been his advantage over his opponents but in this fight, he won’t have the benefit of that size edge because Gassiev is one of the few cruiserweights who can match him in terms of size. So for as long as Gassiev fights smart and avoids getting hit by Dorticos’ haymaker, he’s going to win this fight. We’re picking Murat Gassiev to beat Yunier Dorticos in an exciting battle.