For the first time since the legendary Evander “Real Deal” Holyfield unified all the straps in the late 1980’s we are going to have an undisputed cruiserweight champion. Oleksandr Usyk (14-0; 11 KOs) faces Murat Gassiev (26-0(1); 19 KOs) in Moscow, not just for the title of undisputed cruiserweight crown but the winner will also be crowned WBSS champion, a tournament that has been an unmitigated success. The Ring Magazine and basically everyone else has Usyk ranked as the #1 Cruiserweight and Gassiev as #2. Usyk is currently ranked #9 on our pound for pound list and Gassiev is ranked just outside of the top 10 in one of our “Next Three” spots. By any measure, we have a fight between the two best fighters in the division who are by any measure in the top 15 P4P fighters in the world and have cleaned out the division meeting up for the undisputed king of the division. In all reality, this is the most important fight of the year! As little attention as it has gotten, it’s not even on television in the US as far as I know. the facts are the facts this is the biggest and most important fight thus far in 2018.
Oleksandr Usyk Vs Murat Gassiev
Undisputed Cruiserweight Championship. WBSS Finals
The fight will take place in a phone booth for the first few rounds, with both fighters landing a lot on the inside but Usyk makes the better adjustments and begins wearing down Gassiev. By round five Gassiev realizes he is down on the scorecards and Abel Sanchez is in his ear that he has to stop with the phone booth fight and start using his superior jab. Gassiev takes the advice and starts to change the tempo of the fight in the middle rounds. Controlling Usyk with the jab and unleashing good bodywork. Usyk is beginning to wear down from the bodywork and is eating a lot of jabs as the left side of his face begin to swell badly. By the 10th, Gassiev has rallied and the comeback is well underway as the fight is about even on the cards. Usyk comes out in round 10 determined to make it a war, picking up his work rate to what it was in the first few rounds. Taking the fight to the Russian, he is outworking him and hurting him. For the final round Gassiev, who got beat up in the 10th and 11th, and being a big puncher realizes that Usyk probably has the fight won on points and he needs something dramatic and decides to go for broke. The 12th round is “round of the year” that is fought back and forth in the center of the ring. With just under a minute to go Usyk lands a massive right hook that drops Gassiev. The hometown Champion is able to get to his feet but just barely survives the final seconds of the round. The knockdown secures the victory for Usyk. The cards are unanimous for Usyk 115-112 and 116-111 x2.
Oleksandr Usyk W12 UD
Jaime Munguia Vs Liam Smith
WBO Jr. Middleweight Championship
The new era of massive super middleweights is underway. Two massive 154-pounders will square off for Munguia’s WBO belt. Both Munguia and Smith are massively big, but along with WBA/IBF Champ Jarrett Hurd and WBC champion Jermell Charlo, huge supper middleweight looking Jr. Middleweights are the new normal. Liam Smith and Jamie Munguia are as big as any Jr Middles you will ever see. Smith who will be fighting for the WBO version of the 154-pound title, he previously held this belt before giving it up to Canelo almost two years ago. Smith has run off three straight victories since that devastating body shot from Canelo. He beat a fighter from Spain with a record of 2-37-1 and beat Liam Williams twice and has looked ok in doing so. The 6’0 tall extremely large supper middleweight we mean Jr. Middleweight champion Jamie Munguia has burst on to the scene out of nowhere. When his name was mentioned and rejected as a possible replacement to fight GGG on Cinco de Mayo, most laughed and gave him little chance, that is now a fight, just a few months later we would all love to see! A fight the Mexican could possibly win. Munguia who was The Ring’s prospect of the year for 2017 destroyed Sadam Ali back in mid-May when he filled in as a replacement for the man he is now fighting. Munguia put the entire 154 pound on notice with a devasting, brutal, and dominating fourth-round stoppage of Ali.
Smith is a pretty straight up and down fighter and strong Jr Middleweight that likes to slug but lacks great speed and power but makes up for all that with toughness and grit. That will make him food for Munguia. Munguia will catch Smith on the outside and beat him up on the inside and then tie him up. Smith will be dropped early with a right hand in the first round. After being dominated after the first round, Smith’s corner tells him he has to try and stay from the outside and not try to fight the monster on the inside. That plan doesn’t work with as Munguia out boxes, him out speeds him and lands thunderous right hand after thunderous right hand. All the right hands add up and one more drops the tough Brit again in the 4th, he is able to just barely beat the count but the Referee Gary Rosato takes a look and decides Smith has had enough and waives it off. Giving Munguia his first successful title defense.
Jaime Munguia Via 4th round TKO