Jeddah set to stage huge fight between Murat Gassiev and Oleksandr Usyk

Alexander Usyk will meet Murat Gassiev in Jeddah on May 11.
Updated 05 February 2018
0

Jeddah set to stage huge fight between Murat Gassiev and Oleksandr Usyk

LONDON: Saudi Arabia is bracing itself for one of the most eagerly anticipated fights in recent history after Murat Gassiev set up a showdown with Oleksandr Usyk.

Gassiev, the Russian, beat previously unbeaten Yunier Dorticos in a unification bout in Russia’s resort city Sochi on Saturday to retain his IBF cruiserweight belt, grab the WBA title and book a date in the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) final against Usyk in Jeddah in May.

The winner of that will receive $10 million, pick up the Muhammad Ali Trophy and be crowned the cruiserweight division’s first undisputed champion. The opportunity to hold all four of the 200lb world titles is not something even the great Evander Holyfield achieved.

Usyk will be the favorite but Gassiev, 24, the youngest member of the cruiserweight field of the WBSS improved his record to 27-0 with 19 KOs following the semifinal win in Sochi’s Bolshoy Ice Dome. The 31-year-old previously unbeaten Dorticos — nicknamed “The KO Doctor” — has now dropped to 22-1 with 21 knockouts.
“I’d like to thank everybody who supported me tonight,” said Gassiev. “It’s a very important win for me in the very important unification bout. Dorticos is a great fighter, great champion, true hard-hitter and the real warrior. He never gives up. It’s a cruiserweight division and I was under tough pressure throughout the bout. I was never sure I’m winning the bout before the very last moment.” Dorticos started confidently trying to control the pace of the fight from the start. He performed some good jab work, while Gassiev also landed effective punches in the opening round.

The Cuban continued to push the pace with hard punches in the second but Gassiev replied positively, landing some more solid shots of his own to his opponent’s body. Later on Dorticos continued peppering his rival with shots but his unvaried attacks made little headway as Gassiev defended stoutly, responding with rare but hard and precise punches. After the eighth round Dorticos’ work rate noticeably slowed down and Gassiev stepped up the pressure, beginning to take control and show off his superior hand speed and precision. In the final round Gassiev looked in complete command, sending Dorticos to the canvas twice before the referee stopped the bout with just 18 seconds remaining.

Dorticos would like to get a rematch.

“Murat is a strong fighter, we would like to have a rematch with him,” he said. “I want to thank Sochi for the wonderful reception. It was a great fight. This is a heavy defeat, but I will return. It was a very emotional fight. It’s very difficult to lose these types of fights, yet I wanted to congratulate the whole team, they deserve it.”


Saudi Arabia leave it late to salvage draw with Iraq in Riyadh

Updated 15 October 2018
0

Saudi Arabia leave it late to salvage draw with Iraq in Riyadh

  • Abdulaziz Al-Bishi scored in the 94th minute
  • Pizzi rang the changes in the second half, making six subsitutions in total

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia left it late to salvage a draw in their match against Iraq on Monday night, with Abdulaziz Al-Bishi scoring in the 94th minute.
The fixture at the King Saud University Stadium pitted Juan Antonio Pizzi’s Green Falcons against an Asian Cup rival in Iraq, galvanized by the arrival of Slovenian coach Srencko Katanec.
The first half was a cagey affair, with both sides canceling each other out, and Musthafa Nadhim receiving a yellow card just before halftime.
Pizzi rang the changes in the second half, making six subsitutions in total, three coming after Iraq’s opener. Muhannad Ali put the visitors in front with twenty minutes remaining.
Saudi Arabia kept pressing, and were rewarded in the dying minutes when Al-Bishi scored with almost the last kick of the game.