Is Murat Gassiev Special? The Next Golovkin?



Is Murat Gassiev Special? The Next Golovkin?
Pic by trainer/photog Abel Sanchez

Richard Schaefer on Thursday at a press conference raved  about cruiserweight Murat Gassiev, a Russian who faces off in NJ versus Kryzstof Wlodarczyk in a World Boxing Super Series quarterfinal tango Saturday (10-21).

OK, that guy is a promoter of the event so maybe he might be engaging in hyperbole…

But do a lil You Tubing and check out Gassiev's left hook detonation on Jordan Shimmell in 2016 and at the very least you will be impressed, intrigued.

But you're not wrong if you note, nothing against Jordan but he was seeking to leap from prospect status and got shot down a peg.

In his last outing, Gassiev (24-0 with 17 KOs; age 24) notched a career best win against solid vet Dennis Levedev, a lefty who finished strong in the waning rounds. Gassiev didn't exert youthful vigor and grind down a guy who is entering his senior citizen stretch, at age 38. So, I put it to Gassiev trainer Abel Sanchez, talk to me, is Gassiev all that? Is he special? Is he comparable to GGG?

“Could be special…being young presents challenges, can he keep his head on straight, can he continue the same work ethic, (after meeting more) popularity, fame, MONEY…Broner comes to mind. If those things are controlled, I think he could be,” Sanchez said.

And no, he's not ready to be compared to GGG at 24. “No, because of 350 amateur fights to 25 for Gassiev…we have work to do in every aspect; he can punch but can he set it up and land it on command? In time he will develop those reading skills,” the trainer said.

Noted. And I appreciate the pumping of the brakes. This is why I call him Honest Abel.

I expect Gassiev to be a tick better vs 53-3-1 Wlodarczyk, who is 38 and not on par with Lebedev on paper. His orthodox stance won't have Gassiev thinking as much as he had to versus Lebedev. The Russian will be in a flow, and yes, watch for the left hook on the straight up and down no special effects Pole who has good hand speed and has never been stopped.  (Sanchez on what Wlodarczyk has left, when I asked if he's faded:  “He is not the young champion he once was, but he is still experienced and very skilled, albeit older, I hope he is able to hang around long enough to show us some tricks and ways that will benefit my fighter in future fights.)

This is a style match that will offer us a solid bout. But let's wait a bit, I think, before we anoint Gassiev.

Founder/editor Michael Woods got addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the then-impregnable Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist has covered the sport since for ESPN The Magazine,, Bad Left Hook and RING. His journalism career started with NY Newsday in 1999. Michael Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and for Facebook Fightnight Live, since 2017.