Time can play tricks on you when fighters have been on a hiatus. There was a time where 🇷🇺Murat “Iron” Gassiev (28-1-0, 21KO) proved himself to be the second best in the world of what was a great Cruiserweight class, and was half of the draw in the WBSS Final match. He expressed his desire to move up to Heavyweight, and took time to tack on 25-30 lbs. properly. Amid those times, he kept suffering reoccurring injuries that sidelined for long lengths of time, and for many, he slipped out of general consciousness.
Yesterday, he fought his second fight at Heavyweight, this one coming up against German veteran 🇩🇪Michael Wallisch (22-5-0, 15KO) for a reginal Asian Heavyweight title – a bout that was fought in Moscow, Russia. Immediately in the onset, Wallisch was made to feel uncomfortable, as Gassiev took his time on the front foot, effectively cutting the ring off, and blocking all of Wallisch’s jabs with his elbows on the high guard, taking command of the fight without even opening up his offense up to that point in the early going.
Wallisch asserted himself better in the second round, but Gassiev fights as well going backwards as he does going forward, so the German fighter wasn’t able to get much of anything going. In the third, Gassiev stepped up the pressure a little bit, mixing it up to the head and body.
The fourth round, Wallisch shown his first fit of vulnerability when Gassiev got the outside position and ripped a nasty left hook to the body that made Wallisch drop his elbow to the effected area, and his facial expression changed from it. Gassiev’s best weapon is his left hook, both upstairs and downstairs, so he got the first taste of that.
Murat landed another one, and had Wallisch in somewhat of a retreat mode. Those punches set up a couple of right hands that Wallisch didn’t expect to come, and the second one knocked Wallisch to the seat of his pants on a turnbuckle for a knockdown. He got up, and was visibly hurt, but cleared to continue with seconds left to go in the stanza.
Gassiev punished him up until the 4th round bell, but the Referee stopped the fight then and there, which we didn’t like, considering that he could’ve gauged where Wallisch’s condition was after the 55 second intermission in the corner, and Wallisch’s people felt the same way, as they put up a verbal protest. Nonetheless, he was going to get knocked out by Gassiev at some point anyway, given his far superior pedigree, so what was expected to happen, happened.
WHERE DOES GASSIEV BELONG IN THE OVERALL HEAVYWEIGHT PICTURE?
It’s pretty clear by this point that the extra weight that he has tacked on over the last 3 years have not sapped his speed, or slowed down his foot movement, which is a good thing going forward – which means that he can fully transition his talent upwards to deal with the big boys when the time comes.
He is one of the hardest hitters P4P in boxing, and he appears able to hurt any big man if he were to get a clean shot. He also has an iron chin (no pun intended), so his re-emergence should be a welcoming addition to a decent, but sometimes frustrating Heavyweight division. Murat Gassiev looks like he’s 45 years old…but he is only 27 years old, and if he can stay healthy, there is certainly more for him to accomplish.
In our analysis, Murat Gassiev looks like he could fill in the void that 🇷🇺Alexander ‘Sasha” Povetkin left with his recent retirement, as somebody who could provide that level of challenge to the hierarchy of the division. We’re not sure which direction he and his people want to go in, but the feel is out there that he is ready to get more active, and make a push towards becoming a true Heavyweight contender.