The WBSS rolls on this Saturday with Cruiserweight semifinal #2. Ring Magazine’s #2 ranked IBF champion Murat Gassiev (25-0; 18 KO) faces the #5 ranked WBA champion Yunier Dorticos (22-0; 21 KO). Winner unifies these two titles and advances to the finals for a full unification fight with WBC/WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk. The fight takes place this Saturday, February 3 with a fight time of 1:45 p.m. ET. There should be a live stream - Bloody Elbow will aim to have coverage.
How do these two stack up?
Gassiev: 24 years old | 6’4” | 76" reach | orthodox stance
Dorticos: 31 years old | 6’3" | 80" reach | orthodox stance
What have these two done recently?
Gassiev: W - Krzysztof Włodarczyk (KO) | W - Denis Lebedev (SD) | W - Jordan Shimmell (KO)
Dorticos: W - Dmitry Kudryashov (KO) | W - Youri Kayembre Kalenga (TKO) | W - Fulgencio Zuniga (TKO)
How did these two get here?
Murat Gassiev comes in off his quarterfinal win over Krzysztof Włodarczyk. Prior to that, he scored his career best win, a decision over Denis Lebedev. Gassiev has a lot of fast, aggressive KOs, including his win over Wlodarczyk, but the Lebedev fight showed that he can also go the distance and win a drawn out fight. Gassiev has long had a lot of potential, and that potential has been realized lately - now it’s a matter of finding out how high he can go.
Cuba’s Dorticos is a top 5 Cruiserweight, and yet, amazingly, he’s the undeniable underdog of this semifinal field - that’s just what happens when you get the very best in there together. He got here with a quick KO of Dmitry Kudryashov - those KOs are the norm for him as he’s only gone the distance once. He doesn’t have as big a name as Lebedev on his resume for sure, but he’s a dangerous and powerful fighter.
What can fans expect?
Stylistically, this is a fantastic match-up. Dorticos is consistently exciting, and Gassiev very often comes in there quickly to look for the KO. Where last week’s classic Usyk vs. Briedis semi-final was a superb technical war, this one has the high potential to be a fast and furious slugfest. Those are always hard to call, but you have to give the nod to the more accomplished Gassiev.
Prediction: Murat Gassiev, KO
Who should watch?
You. Last week’s semifinal was a clear indication that this Cruiserweight tournament is must watch stuff, and this fight has all the potential to be a great one.