Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images

Albert Baker


SOCHI, RUSSIA 2/3/2015. Murat Gassiev and Yunier Dorticos met in a 12 round semifinal in Sochi, Russia to unify their WBA and IBF Cruiserweight titles, and to determine the opponent for finalist Oleksandr Usyk. 

The World Boxing Super Series semifinal gained traction and attention after the matchup between Usyk and Mairis Breidis performed above expectations and delivered a highly skilled performance, viewed by the US die-hard fans on YouTube adding to the “I’m such a die-hard fan I stream fights” factor.

Gassiev and Dorticos delivered the same level of high caliber performance Usyk and Breidis did but ended the affair much more stunningly. Dorticos boxed well early on with a stiff jab and right cross to a backpedaling Gassiev. Dorticos vaunted one punch knockout power never became a factor but the pressure was enough to earn the respect of Gassiev who never appeared to “sell-out” to get his shots in. Gassiev closed in on Dorticos in the middle rounds and start landing hard left and right hands to the body punctuated by big right hooks to the head that sent the hometown Russian crowd reeling every time Gassiev landed anything of note.

By the 10th round it was almost an even fight but the more compact Gassiev would begin to land the much harder shots to take a toll on the Cuban Dorticos. The 12th round gave all the action any one fan could handle as Dorticos pressed forward and ate a huge left hand by Gassiev that sent him to the canvas. Dorticos would make it to his feet only to go down again from a flurry of punches. A wobbly Dorticos attempted to battle on but Gassiev would drop him again with a left hook against the ropes causing Dorticos to fall and flop out of the ring prompting the referee to wave off the fight.

During the post fight interview Gassiev said “Dorticos was very tough, very good, we make best fight.” Oleksandr Usyk was brought into the ring to formally announce the final of the series to be held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. No US television carried the tournament, passing on a huge missed opportunity. Social media was ablaze, roasting HBO and Showtime with a slew of memes for passing on what surely is a success and builder of new stars that deliver great performances.

About Albert Baker

Writer/Producer/Director of the Under the Hand Wraps documentary series and owner of Albert Baker is currently based in Fresno, California and has been covering boxing since 2014.

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