The World Boxing Super Series delivers the last of the Cruiserweight Tournament quarter-finals this Saturday night in New Jersey as WBA world champion Murat Gassiev (24-0) faces Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (53-3-1).
The undefeated Gassiev is the tournament’s number two seed and he is expected to advance here. The 24-year-old is coming off a win over Denis Lebedev that earned him the IBF world cruiserweight title back in December of 2016 and this fight will also mark his first title defense. Gassiev is a hard-nosed, come forward type of fighter with solid techniques. He has KO power, as evidenced by his 17 stoppage wins, but against Lebedev he also showed he can manage a 12-round fight and come out victorious. The common thinking with Gassiev is that a tournament win could be a coming out party for him and that with his youth, his best days are ahead of him.
The same cannot be said for the 36-year-old Wlodarczyk. He has loads of experience and he has won over 50 fights, so he cannot be counted out, but this tournament seems more like a fitting cap to a long career. He was the IBF cruiserweight champion for a spell back in 2007, a full 10 years ago. More recently, he held the WBC version of the cruiserweight world title in 2013-2014. His title run came to an end when he took a loss to fellow countryman Grigory Drozd, which he followed by taking all of 2015 off. Since his 2016 comeback, he has gone a respectable 4-0 against competition with a combined record of 125-12.
It should be noted that the ‘favorites” have won every fight in both the super middleweight and cruiserweight tournaments thus far and nothing is expected to change come Saturday. The WBSS has slated the winner of Gassiev vs Wlodarczyk to meet Cuba’s Yunier Dorticos in the semifinal round. Dorticoas advanced with an impressive second round KO of Russia’s Dmitry Kudrayshov on September 23rd.
Sauerland Events is promoting the card being held at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey and two of the other fights on the card are already listed at the books.
World Boxing Super Series Q2 – Prudential Center – Newark, New Jersey
Cruiserweight 12 rounds –
Krzysztof Wlodarczyk +1125
Murat Gassiev -1750
Super Welterweight 10 rounds –
Jack Culcay +250
Maciej Sulecki -350
Cruiserweight 10 rounds –
Stivens Bujaj +450
Mateusz Masternak -750