Gassiev set for heavyweight debut

In his first bout in 18 months, former unified cruiserweight champion Murat Gassiev (26-1 19 KOs) will make his long-awaited heavyweight debut against Jerry “Slugger” Forrest (26-3 20 KOs) at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas on February 29, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK. Gassiev was set to make his bow in July at College Park Center in Arlington, Texas against Joey Dawejko but a shoulder injury in the build-up put the 26-year-old on the shelf until now. You might remember Forrest from his loss to Jermaine Franklin on ShoBox last July.

“I’m so happy to finally be able to make my debut at heavyweight,” said Gassiev. “It has been frustrating not being able to fight but I am ready to go now, and I want to make up for lost time.

“When I box in Frisco it will have been nearly 600 days since I’ve fought and a lot has happened in the heavyweight division over that time – I know that I can be a world champion at heavyweight but I need to show to the rest of the division that I am a serious threat, and that starts on February 29.”

Also on the card will be rising junior middleweight Israil Madrimov (4-0 4 KOs), who defends his WBA Inter-Continental junior middleweight title in an official eliminator for the #2 position in the WBA against Charlie Navarro (29-9 22 KOs).

Two other bouts feature flyweight Jesse Rodriguez (10-0 6 KOs) clashing with Marco Sustaita (12-2-1 10 KOs) over ten rounds and unbeaten middleweight Leo Ruiz Acevedo (6-0 4 KOs) taking on Dennis Knifechief (12-11 7 KOs) over six rounds.

* * *

Gassiev, Madrimov, Rodriguez and Acevedo complete a stacked bill in Frisco, Texas, topped by Mikey Garcia vs. Jessie Vargas, with world champion Kal Yafai (26-0, 15 KOs) putting his WBA super flyweight title on the line against the former pound-for-pound king and four-weight world ruler Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez (48-2 40 KOs) and rising sensation Julio Cesar Martinez (15-1 12 KOs) making the first defense of his WBC flyweight title against unbeaten European champion Jay Harris (17-0 9 KOs). Matchroom Boxing USA talents Diego Pacheco (8-0 7 KOs) and Alexis Espino (5-0 4 KOs) getting their first taste of action in 2020.

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  • Looking forward to Gassiev at heavyweight. Hope he does not look the same as Usyk, too small for a proper heavyweight.

    • Well said in your statement. I agree, size can make a difference when it comes to the heavyweights. Usyk fighting Wilder or Fury etc. would be a totally different match up than any cruiser weight in terms of power and size. Usyk may do well boxing these giants, but not sure how well things would go with some subsequent power shots. I recall the old days of watching Chris Byrd fighting bigger guys and he did well for the most part. However, when Byrd got tagged by Ike Beabuchi it was a whole different outcome. Massive power can everything in a fight.

      • Scooby, I was at the Byrd fight sitting right behind his wife/manager. It was the first time I really appreciated the difference of being ringside vs watching on television, because I recorded it and watched it later. Live, it seemed like Byrd was winning rounds, but on television it looked like Ike’s power was winning them. In the end, the cards never came into question, but it was a formative moment. View angles ringside make a huge difference in judging.

        I’m sure you know that, but I figured I’d share. It was a great night and great memory.

        • Scott, what an extreme privilege you had to have been ringside and seen Ike fight. Must be the best heavyweight never to have made it. Byrd was something as well, just too small.

          • Accusation without evidence is a crime. You can claim freedom of speech for as long as you want but you lose all credibility with this fact-free innuendo.

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