The Ali Trophy semi-final bout in the cruiserweight edition of the World Boxing Super Series between IBF World Champion Murat Gassiev (25-0, 18 KOs) and WBA World Champion Yunier Dorticos (22-0, 21 KOs) has a home.
It will take place at the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Sochi, Russia on February 3, 2018.
Murat ‘Iron’ Gassiev, the Russian who was the second seed, earned his spot in the semi-final when he demolished the Pole Krzysztof Wlodarczyk in New Jersey in October.
“The location for the semi-final was not important for me, but the fact that it will be in Russia and the beautiful city of Sochi makes me very glad,” said Gassiev.
“This means my family and friends and a lot of people from my home region of Ossetia will be attending. Also, it is always an honour and pleasure to fight in front of my countrymen,” said the 24-year-old.
“Dorticos is a very good dangerous fighter. It is going to be great to test my skills against an opponent like him. I am confident we will deliver great boxing for fans around the world.”
Gassiev’s trainer Abel Sanchez is happy his fighter is happy, but would have preferred this bout be closer to home.
“I would have preferred it in the States, to let the cruiserweight division show its worth and talent to the American public, Europe already knows this group,” the Cali based Sanchez told me.
Cuban Dorticos aka ‘The KO Doctor’, the tournament’s fourth seed, impressed in his quarter-final with a stoppage on Russian hammer-fist Dmitri Kudryashov in San Antonio in September. He predicts a similar ending against another Russian in the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
“I am looking forward to fighting in Sochi. No matter where I fight, I will work hard to take my opponent out,” said 31-year-old Dorticos, fighting out of Miami, USA.
“I believe I am the best in the world and the future winner of the Muhammad Ali Trophy. I can’t wait to show Gassiev and the fans in Russia and all over the world what ‘The KO Doctor’ is about!”
What does Sanchez think about that? “I think it is the two most attractive, marketable fighters in this tournament,” the trainer said.
And does he think this is a 50-50 fight, a coin-flip fight?
“Yes!” he said.
Well that’s the sound of music to the ears of this fight fans. Good stuff. Now we can hope we get a good US TV platform for the tango….