By: Ste Rowen
The final Cruiserweight World Boxing Super Series Quarterfinal between current IBF Champion, Murat Gassiev and former IBF & WBC World titlist, Krzysztof Wlodarczyk takes place this Saturday at the Prudential Center, New Jersey.
Despite the draft gala, whereby seeded fighters can choose their opponent, this bout was pre-determined as Wlodarczyk is the mandatory for Gassiev’s IBF belt.
The newly crowned IBF Champion, Murat ‘Iron’ Gassiev (24-0-0 17KOs) has had a sharp rise since his first fight in the US back in January 2015. He began working with renowned trainer Abel Sanchez in 2014, and he was kept busy as the Russian notched up three straight victories including, a scrappy but dominant affair with journeyman Terrance Smith, where Smith forced the referee into stopping the bout due to excessive holding. Then Gassiev scored stoppages over former fringe contender Felix Cora Jr in the ninth, and a second-round dismantling of Rodney Moore. His most notable fight of 2015 though came in a matchup with the then unbeaten, Isiah Thomas, when at the end of the third, Gassiev fired off two big right hands, one after the bell, and Thomas was deemed by the doctor unable to continue and the fight was called a No Contest.
Murat bounced back in devastating fashion almost five months later when he really lived up to his alias, landing an unbelievable left from the waist onto the chin of 21-0-0 at the time, Jordan Shimmell. It set up Gassiev’s biggest, and toughest fight of his career so far against fellow Russian, WBA & IBF Champion, Denis Lebedev. A combination of Lebedev’s chin and Gassiev’s power meant this bout was unlikely to disappoint. A close back and forth shootout throughout but a fifth-round knockdown via a perfect left hook body shot from Gassiev, as well as constant pressure from ‘Iron’ made the different as Murat was crowned the Cruiserweight Champion.
For some strange, incomprehensible reason that only the WBA could conjure up, Lebedev was allowed to keep hold of his WBA belt but of course, Gassiev didn’t leave empty handed from such a gruelling win. And so, the IBF strap will be on the line this weekend.
Krzysztof ‘Diablo’ Wlodarczyk (53-3-1 37Kos) is no stranger to the IBF belt now held by his Russian foe. The veteran Pole won it back in 2006 when he defeated, then unbeaten, Steve Cunningham via a debated Split Decision. He lost it however in the immediate rematch six months later. This time ‘Diablo’ was comprehensively beaten. Not for the want of trying by judge Robert Gibson though who, despite Wlodarczyk taking a ten count in round four and the other two scorecards being 112-116, 112-115, Gibson scored it a draw.
He bounced back quickly though. In the space of almost six months Wlodarczyk scored four straight wins, earning a shot at then WBC Cruiserweight World Champion, Giacobbe Fragomeni. The bout ended in a draw despite Krzysztof scoring a knockdown in the ninth, but the Pole got a second chance almost a year to the day later. ‘Diablo’ left no doubt in the rematch as he scored a TKO in round eight and became a two-time World Champion. His reign lasted for over four years and six defences until he came up against another Russian, in the form of Grigory ‘Pretty Boy’ Drozd. He was soundly beaten and down heavily on all scorecards, in a fight that included Wlodarczyk taking a knee in the eighth. Since then he’s fought and won four times against fringe contenders and earnt his path into the tournament and the chance to become a three-time World Champion.
It seems almost lazy to compare Gassiev with his gym mate, Gennady Golovkin but there are clear similarities between the two, and not just that they both train at Big Bear. He’s got a come forward, seek and destroy attitude added with his ability to cut off the ring expertly.
There’s fearsome power and accuracy in his left hand, and proved in the Lebedev fight that his chin isn’t in doubt.
For Wlodarczyk, this will be his 58th fight and 11th world title fight. He too has shown great power throughout his accomplished career. Though an over reliance in his left hand has allowed his chin to come into question more than a few times. None of the unseeded fighters in either the Cruiserweight or the Super Middleweight draw have won so far, it’s a bad omen for Krzysztof.
The winner will meet Yunier Dorticos in the semi-final of a tournament that continues to deliver.
by: Eric Lunger
The Cruiserweight division of the World Boxing Super Series comes to the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, on Saturday night as two-time world titlist and IBF top-ranked challenger Krzysztof “Diablo” Wlodarczyk (53-3-1, 37 KOs) of Poland takes on hard-hitting IBF Champion Murat Gassiev (24-0, 17 KOs) of Russia.
Wlodarczyk, 36, fights out of Piaseczno, Poland (a suburb of Warsaw). At six-feet-one with an orthodox stance, Wlodarczyk is a straight-ahead pressure fighter, who likes to walk down his opponent with a strong jab. Wlodarczyk won the vacant IBF World Cruiserweight title in 2006, defeating American Steve Cunningham in a close split decision, but then lost the belt to Cunningham eight months later on another close set of cards. Both of those bouts took place in Poland. Wlodarczyk has fought twice in the US, both times in Chicago. At UIC Pavilion, Wlodarczyk defeated Giacobbe Fragomeni in 2013 to capture the WBC World Cruiserweight title. He surrendered that belt to Grigory Drozd in Moscow in a 12-round decision, in September of 2014.
Reached for comment while training in Poland, Wlodarczyk told boxinginsider.com (via translation by his manager) that he was excited to fight in Newark and the NYC metro area, “where I have many friends.” Wlodarczyk sees the age difference between him and Gassiev as a “coin with two sides. Murat is the youngest and I am the oldest, [but] I am the most experienced boxer in the tournament.” Asked how he planned to deal with Gassiev’s power and his high guard, Wlodarczyk was cagey, merely remarking that “my defense is usually quite good, and I hope this time will be the same.”
Having a chance, at this stage in his career, to fight in such an important tournament, with three belts and the Muhammad Ali trophy at stake, is a great honor for the Polish veteran. “It is a great pleasure, and big prestige. I am very excited.” Asked if he had a message for American boxing fans in Newark, Krzysztof replied: “I just hope they enjoy the show; I really have been training very hard last twelve weeks and I will do my best.”
The other three semi-finalists in the tournament are set, as Ukrainian WBO Champion Oleksandr Usyk stopped veteran Marco Huck in ten rounds, WBC Champion Mairis Briedis defeated Mike Perez of Cuba, and WBA Champion Yunier Dorticos knocked out Russian Dmitry Kudryashov. The winner of Wlodarczyk vs. Gassiev earns a showdown with Dorticos early next year.
The World Boxing Super Series Begins
By: Matthew N. Becher
Over the past weekend, the newly created World Boxing Super Series held its very first draft, for its very first tournament. The premise of the new tournament is an open competition for any professional boxer that is ranked in the top 15 of the major sanctioning bodies systems.
In theory the best fighters would face off against one another, until the last man was standing, thus making him the #1 boxer in that weight class. Simple. That is the easy part, the hard part is getting the best fighters to all participate in such a tournament, with everyone having different promoters and so forth. Fortunately, it seems to have worked out for the initial Cruiserweight Tournament.
The seeding of the tournament went as follows. The top 4 fighters were ranked 1-4 by the WBSS, with the four belt holders getting the top rankings.
1: Oleksander Usyk (WBO)
2: Murat Gassiev (IBF)
3: Mairis Briedis (WBC)
4: Yunier Dorticos (WBA)
Then from 1-4, the fighter was allowed to pick or draft his opponent from a group of 4 boxers, for their first round fight. (An exception was made for Gassiev, who had a mandatory against Krzysztof Wlodarczyk. That fight was picked for him)
The first round of the tournament looks like this.
Oleksander Usyk (12-0 10KO) v. Marco Huck (40-4-1 27KO)
Murat Gassiev (24-0 17KO) v. Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (53-3-1 37KO)
Mairis Briedis (22-0 18KO) v. Mike Perez (22-2-1 14KO)
Yunier Dorticos (21-0 20KO) v. Dmitry Kudryashov (21-1 21KO)
Literally the best of the best in the Cruiserweight division will be competing against each other, until one is standing with all the belts, the inaugural Muhammad Ali Trophy and possibly a $1 million dollar bonus for advancing though semifinals and the championship round.
The tournament is slated to begin in early September and rap up by Mary of next year. The location of the fights have yet to be determined and will be placed in locations that match up well for each fight.
“To unify a division and spotlight a division that has clearly been underappreciated, even though the fights in the ring are always among the most exciting in the sport, irrespective of the division, that those four champions, if you look at the record – they are all undefeated. Most of their wins, the vast majority have come by knockout. So these are all big punchers, undefeated. I’m really excited,” said Richard Schaefer, the Chairman of the Americas for Comosa, who helped put this field together alongside fellow promoter Kalle Sauerland (the Chief Boxing Officer for Comosa).
This is a very exciting tournament for boxing and especially for the roll out of the new World Boxing Super Series. With formats like this, expect many division to start falling in line and possibly getting to see the best match up against the best in the near future.
PBC on NBC Results: Browne wins controversial SD; Glowacki defends his Title & Spence dominates in 5
By: Matt Becher
Live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, Premier Boxing Champions put on an exciting fight card live on NBC Primetime. Undefeated Light Heavyweights Marcus Brown and Radivoje Kalajdzic mixed it up, looking to take another step up the ladder in their weight division. The fight was ugly and ended with a controversial decision
Krzysztof Glowacki was able to defend his WBO Cruiserweight title for the first time against fading veteran Steve Cunningham. Though Cunningham was able to put up a valiant effort, the story of the night was how tough Glowacki really might be.
The main event was a showcase for Spence Jr. The former Olympian may just be the next big thing to hit the sport. He lived up to his reputation and maybe even surpassed it. Knocking out a former world champion with relative ease, something that Provodnikov, Pacquiao and Khan could not do.
Marcus Browne (17-0 13KO) v. Radivoje Kalajdzic (21-0 14KO): Light Heavyweight
This fight started off ugly, and pretty much stayed that way for its entirety. Browne was able to score a knockdown in the first round, but it looked more to have been a slip by Kalajdzic. Both fighters fought recklessly through the fight, throwing wild punches, with little defense.
Browne looked more like an amateur and not a fighter moving his way up. Kalajdzic fought in enemy territory and was able to floor Browne with a very nice combination that legitimately hurt Browne.
The final three rounds were Kalajdzic hitting Browne and Browne holding on. The score cards were close, but it seemed to have swung the wrong way. Even the crowd booed the local man’s Split Decision victory.
Browne SD8 76-75 & 76-74 Browne, 76-74 Kalajdzic
Krzysztof Glowacki (25-0 16KO) v. Steve Cunningham (28-7-1 13KO): WBO Cruiserweight title
A great deal may have been seen tonight in the Cruiserweight division, and that is the newest champion Krzysztof Glowacki is going to be around for a while.
Glowacki started out fast landing a counter left in the second round, putting Cunningham down within the first 30 seconds of the round. Another exchange quickly there after saw Cunningham go down for a second time in the second round. Glowacki has great power. Cunningham was able to land his jab effectively for most of the fight, but would get caught with a power counter at the end of most of his exchanges.
Glowacki took some power shots that would have put most Cruisers on their backs, maybe even some heavyweights, but he never wavered. Glowacki showed that his chin was just as strong as his left hand.
In the 9th round Cunningham showed a bit of a comeback, but seemed to be bothered by a swelling over his right eye caused by an accidental head butt. In the 10th Glowacki was able to land a short right hook that put Cunningham down for a third time. Cunningham came back fiercely with two flush right hands to the chin of Glowacki, but to no effect.
The final round was action packed, both guys going for a knockout, Glowacki again came out with the better shots in the final round, dropping Cunningham and winning a Unanimous Decision.
Glowacki UD10 116-108, 115-109(2x)
Errol Spence Jr. (19-0 16KO) v. Chris Algieri (21-2 8KO): Welterweight
Spence came out of the corner with a chip on his shoulder. He immediately showed off his speed and power. He landed thunderous body blows to the ribs and mid-section of Algieri. Algieri would occasionally test Spence’s chin, but it was to no avail. Spence had no respect for any of Algieri’s power.
In the fourth round Algieri ate a crisp left hand on the jaw that sent him to the canvas. He was able to survive the round. It wouldn’t last much longer. The fifth round had Spence come out fast and knock down Algieri. A worn down former champ, Algieri, gamely got up, only to be swarmed by Spence, who knocked down Algieri again. Spence may be the next big thing to the sport, he certainly proved himself tonight.
Spence KO5 2:12