The finale of the first World Boxing Super Series established new lineage at the Cruiserweight division.
Aleksandr Usyk (15-0, 11 KO) was in a class of his own on Saturday, July 21, 2018, defeating Murat Gassiev (26-1, 19 KO) by unanimous decision (120-108, 119-109, 119-109).
Usyk ran away with the lead early on. He jabbed in and out of mid-range through the first two rounds. Gassiev never really fired back.
Rounds 3 and 4 saw Usyk add a wrinkle to his southpaw jab. With Gassiev consistently plowing forward with his elbows tight and gloves at his face, Usyk curled lead right hands around the Russian’s glove, and up and through his guard.
The only possible round to give to Gassiev would be the fourth. He slammed right and left hooks into Usyk’s midsection. The Ukranian jogged it off but Gassiev caught up to him just before the bell and hurled an overhand right across Usyk’s chin that forced him to wrap up.
The fight was back in Usyk’s control in Round 5 where his jabs had even more venom. Usyk brushed Gassiev back in the sixth stanza with bolting crosses and hard uppercuts.
Gassiev didn’t recieve as much damage in the seventh period but he was still stuck in the mud, unable to get off any combos of his own with Usyk’s quick succession of one-twos.
Usyk racked up a wider lead in total punches in Rounds 8 and 9. And by the tenth, he didn’t even bother aiming at Gassiev’s body. He continually chipped away at the Russian’s face, hitting over and over, never extremely hard, but obviously effecting his breathing.
Usyk bounced around like he does best in Round 11, maintaining lead-foot dominance and shredding Gassiev’s guard from perfect angles.
The former Olympic gold medalist’s conditioning never subsided in the final round either. His punches had more rhythm than ever.
In the end, there was no other way to cut it: Usyk outclassed Gassiev. It’s a scary thought after the Russian proved himself far and away the second-best fighter in the class.
Usyk isn’t just atop the Cruisers now, but clearly among the best pound-for-pound boxers of the era.
Header photo by World Boxing Super Series