GASSIEV STOPS WLODARCZYK IN THE 3rd ROUND IN THE QUARTER FINAL OF THE WORLD BOXING SUPER SERIES, IN THE BRICK CITY, NEWARK, NEW JERSEY
By: Danny Serratelli, ringside
WORLD BOXING SUPER SERIES AT A GLANCE:
16 Elite Boxers, in two weight classes, 8 in each weight class battle it out in an elimination tournament, with four Quarter-Finals (September & October 2017), two Semi-Finals (January & February 2018) and one Final (May 2018). The Winners of the World Boxing Super Series will rightfully receive the GREATEST prize in boxing, the Muhammad Ali Trophy.
NEWARK, NJ (October 21, 2017)– Undefeated IBF Cruiserweight World Champion, Vladikavkaz, Russia’s, Murat “Iron” Gassiev, 25-0, 18 KO’s, (1 NC), who is trained by GGG’s trainer, Abel Sanchez, looked very impressive in the ring with former WBC & IBF Cruiserweight World Champion, Piaseczno, Poland’s Krzysztof “Diablo” Wlodarczyk, 53-4-1, 37 KO’s on Saturday night. The fight was scheduled for 12- rounds as it was for Gassiev’s belt, but Wlodarczyk wouldn’t make it out of the 3rd.
This matchup was also the cruiserweight quarter-final bout in the World Boxing Super Series which headlined an exciting card that took place at Newark New Jersey’s Prudential Center.
The first couple rounds were uneventful as both fighters were feeling each other out, but in round 3, Gassiev turned up the heat just a little bit and quickly ended matters. Gassiev landed a sharp left uppercut to the head followed by a nice left hook to the body that dropped Poland’s Wlodarczyk and he wouldn’t beat the count. The knockout was official at 1:57 of round number 3.
While it may have looked like easy work for Gassiev, it should be noted that the 36-year-old Wlodarczyk had never been stopped in his 57-fight career that spanned over 17 years against a lot of world class competition. Prior to last night, he was only defeated once in the last 10 years when he dropped a 12- round decision in which he lost his WBC Cruiserweight title after defending it successfully 6 times over a 4-year period of time.
Gassiev’s victory sets up a World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight semi-final showdown with WBA champion Yunier Dorticos, 22-1, 21 KO’s, who was in attendance Saturday night. “Dorticos is a very good fighter with great experience,” said Gassiev. “He’s undefeated and I can’t wait to give all the boxing fans the big gift of a great fight against Dorticos.”
Dorticos wasn’t shy and didn’t beat around the bush when asked how he felt about a fight with Gassiev. “I really wanted Gassiev to win, because he’s going to taste the power of a real man against me,” said Dorticos. “His opponent tonight was past his time. I’m ready to show him what a champion looks like and give him a challenge he’s never faced before. I want to take his belt. I want to get in the ring and destroy Gassiev.”
“I had a great opponent tonight,” said Gassiev. “I prepared myself for a tough fight but it is boxing and anything can happen. We do a lot of work in the gym and I just listened to my coach round after round and he told me what I needed to do. That’s all I needed.”
His opponent Wlodarczyk explained, “We worked hard to try to avoid this kind of punch but unfortunately he got a really hard shot through and hurt me. We knew how good he was, and we prepared hard for it. I wanted to use the jab as much as possible. My strength is the second part of the fight and we were hoping to bring him to the later part of the fight and take advantage.” Unfortunately for Wlodarczyk, he didn’t make it close to the second part of the fight.
In the co-main event of the evening, and World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight reserve match, Wroclaw, Poland’s Mateusz Masternak, 40-4, 26 KO’s scored a TKO victory over New York, NY’s Stivens Bujaj, 16-2-1, 11 KOs when the fight was stopped in the corner after 7 rounds of action were completed.
“I got stronger as the fight went on,” said the 30-year old Masternak. “I was ready to go hard rounds and use my attack to overwhelm him. Once I started using combinations I was very effective in hurting him. That made the difference for me.”
Bujaj was honest in his assessment of how things were going, “I thought I was boxing well, but I wasn’t offensive enough. I was trying, but I felt like I was one step behind. I was rusty. I’m disappointed in myself. I know I could have fought better than that and performed better. I just didn’t feel like myself tonight.” Bujaj mentioned that he was rusty, the 27- year old had not fought in almost a full year, this was the second longest layoff of his career.
Bujaj had some moments early in the fight working behind a decent jab, but Masternak kept the pressure on and finally got to Bujaj in round number 7 when he dropped him with a big right hand. Bujaj beat the count and gave it all he had, but Masternak was landing some good shots and when the round ended it appeared Bujaj’s corner decided that their fighter had taken enough.
“I stayed focused and kept my right hand ready to deliver damage,” said Masternak. “I’m ready to fight with anyone they put in front of me. I’m always ready in the gym and I can’t wait to get back in the ring.”
In the first of the featured bouts of the evening, and the definitely the most entertaining fight of the night, super welterweight contender, Warsaw, Poland’s Maciej Sulecki, 26-0, 10 KO’s scored a unanimous decision victory over former title challenger, Darmstadt, Germany’s Jack Culcay, 22-3, 11 KO’s in a 10 round WBC title eliminator.
“It was a very tough fight and I had to be at my best,” said Sulecki. “I didn’t think he’d be quite as tough, but I wanted to fight him, and I got him.”
Sulecki said a mouthful with that statement as he definitely had all he could handle in this fight. Culcay gave a great account of himself, he obviously came to take Sulecki’s undefeated record away, and he was smart as he fought most of the fight like he didn’t trust the judges.
Even though most of the crowd seemed to be Polish fans, because they are such great boxing fans, Culcay seemed to win a lot of the crowd over by the time the final bell rang.
The fans definitely got their money’s worth with this bout. Sulecki was the taller fighter who fought more technically, but Culcay came after him on several occasions and was obviously trying to get Sulecki out of there. To Sulecki’s credit, he wasn’t backing down, he definitely was more defensive, but when he needed to land something to keep Culkay’s respect, he did.
Sulecki use a stiff jab that he doubled up nicely while Culcay was the shorter fighter, who stalked Sulecki often throughout the course of the fight. Culcay looked to be in great shape and he had to expend a lot of energy when he stayed aggressive and used a lot of head movement to try to get past Sulecki’s jab.
While ringside observers couldn’t be sure, it appeared that Culcay’s corner was giving him great advice, sensing he needed to close the show impressively to have a chance. In the 6th round Sulecki landed some solid right hands which seemed to open a cut around the left eye of Culcay, the blood appeared to inspire him to come out for the 7th round guns blazing and he appeared to hurt Sulecki a couple times in the round.
If Culcay’s corner told him he needed a knockout, he did his best to oblige as he tried to keep the fast pace up in the last few rounds to close out the fight. Culcay appeared to pick up a lot of fans, but he dropped a close unanimous decision, in a fight that looked like it could have gone either way. (Scores: Lindsey Page 98-92, Paul Wallace 97-93, and James Kinney 96-94)
“I prepared for about four or five weeks for this opponent,” said Sulecki. “The seventh round was the toughest round for me. I got hit with a couple big shots, but I wanted a war. I was never going to let down.”
“It was a close fight,” said Culcay. “Hard to tell but I felt like I was winning. It was very close but I really thought I was winning. I felt like I was strong. I thought that I hurt him. But this is boxing. I would love a rematch, but either way I will be back even stronger.”
“I want the best in the division and that means facing Jermell Charlo,” said Sulecki. “I’m ready to challenge for a title.” Based off this performance, it appears Charlo would be too much for Sulecki, but anyone who witnessed this fight would be happy to see a rematch.
Super Welterweights, Skender Halili, 15-2, 13 KO’s (6 Round Unanimous Decision) over Samuel Amoako, 23-16, 17 KO’s……referee: Harvey Dock | Debra Barnes 54-60 | Larry Layton 54-60 | Robin Taylor 54-60
Heavyweights, Efe Ajaga, 1-0, 1 KO (TKO Round 1) Luke Lyons, 5-1, 2 KO’s… time: 2:19 | referee: Harvey Dock | Debra Barnes | Larry Layton | Robin Taylor
Super Welterweights, Money Powell IV, 5-0, 3 KO’s (6 Round Unanimous Decision) over Brandon Adams, 4-5-1, 2 KO’s…… referee: Allan Huggins | Debra Barnes 55-59 | Larry Layton 56-59 | Robin Taylor 55-58