By Przemek Garczarczyk
There will be two outstanding fighters in the ring and two great coaches, Abel Sanchez and Fiodor Łapin, in their corners, when IBF world champ Murat “Iron” Gassiev (24-0, 17 KO) and former WBC/IBF champ Krzysztof “Diablo” Włodarczyk (53-3, 37 KO) meet in the concluding World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight quarterfinal match this Saturday in Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.
Włodarczyk’s coach talks about facing Gassiev and Diablo’s preparation before possibly the defining bout in his career. The October 21 event, promoted by Ringstar Sports in association with World Boxing Super Series, will be broadcast live on AUDIENCE Network. Featured bouts also include Polish contender Mateusz Masternak (39-4, 26 KO) facing once-beaten Stivens Bujaj (16-1, 12 KO) in a WBSS cruiserweight reserve match and exciting, undefeated Polish super welterweight Maciej Sulęcki (25-0, 10 KO) vs. former amateur and world champion Jack Culcay (22-2, 11 KO).
You moved Włodarczyk’s training camp from Poland to New Jersey two weeks before Gassiev bout. Enough time?
We did it before with Diablo when he fought Giacobbe Fragomeni, and also with “Head” Głowacki before the Marco Huck fight… and it has always worked to our advantage. I’m happy with everything going on during the US training camp. Happy with our training, sparring partners and, most importantly, with Włodarczyk’s performance. Th first 4-5 days, because of six hour time difference, are always lost when you move camp from Europe to the East coast, but we were able to do a lot of work during this time. No surprises, no unexpected training problems. I hate that before any fight, but even more when there’s a world championship at stake, there’s a lot of extra activity now, during the fight week. We will meet Polish fans, then open media training on Wednesday, press conference in Manhattan on Thursday. It’s all part of a big event you have to deal with.
With all these activities – how do you keep Diablo head’s in the game?
He’s a very experienced fighter. That helps. I’m happy with his frame of mind. There’s extra motivation because of Gassiev’s level and, of course, the whole World Boxing Super Series atmosphere, how much money is in it, great fighters you have to fight. All that. I know he will give 100 percent in the ring. I saw him like that before the Danny Green bout in Australia or Rakhim Chakhkiev in Russia.
Three Polish fighters battling tough opponents on the same night – special advantage because there’s a group of friends staying together, cheering?
I don’t think so. Boxing is an individual sport. Everyone is different, different mentality, last days of preparations. You have to concentrate on yourself. Friends will not help when you are in the ring.
What can Włodarczyk not do when fighting Gassiev?
Don’t make it a brawl. No punch for punch macho nonsense. Włodarczyk has to use his huge experience advantage, being smart in the ring and not do what Murat possibly wants him to do. We know what Gassiev likes to do – like the left hook to the body, just under opponent’s elbow. This punch is almost automatic for him. He’s just 24 years old and already, a year ago Murat was good enough to defeat Denis Lebedev in Moscow. We all know that with a fighter this age, every next fight should be a better one. People are also missing an important fact – besides being a great talent, a fighter with power – Murat is fully dedicated to his craft. Spending so much time in Big Bear means that your life is boxing and you want to be the best. There are fighters that from the first punch, the first second of the first round want to send the message “I’m better than you.” Gassiev is one of them. What Diablo has to do, is to say “NO.”