Murat Gassiev beats Denis Lebedev on points to land IBF cruiserweight title
By Andy Charles
Last Updated: 03/12/16 10:13pm
Murat Gassiev is the new IBF cruiserweight champion after beating fellow Russian Denis Lebedev on a split points decision in Moscow on Saturday night.
Lebedev, coached by the legendary Freddie Roach, produced a true warrior's display to rally from a knockdown but he would lose 116-112 and 116-111 on two of the cards, with the third judge giving the champion a 114-113 verdict.
The 37-year-old had the better of the opening two, fairly cagey, rounds but the rangy Gassiev (24-0-KO17) grew into the fight in the third and pushed the champion's head back with a couple of decent shots.
Backed by a partisan crowd Lebedev (29-3-KO22) started to get his combinations going, albeit at times struggling with an obvious reach disadvantage, but his best work often lacked impact.
And Gassiev's explosive power showed in the fifth when he connected with a vicious body shot that sent Lebedev down to his haunches and forced a count.
Lebedev rallied well in the sixth, despite being marked around the eyes as well, and continued to score well in the next two as Gassiev appeared to take a breather.
Gassiev was caught twice in the early stages of the 10th, although neither fighter was landing as consistently as the pace of the fight began to show on both men.
Lebedev needed to push forward, and did, in the last six minutes of boxing, but he could never quite find the power shot needed to hurt Gassiev and end the 23-year-old's unbeaten record.
"I prepared myself for a very tough fight. Denis is a champion and I knew what was waiting for me in the ring," Gassiev said. "Big respect to him. I'm very happy I won today."
Namibia's Julius Indongo claimed the IBF and IBO super lightweight champion after a stunning first-round knockout of champion Eduard Troyanovsky.
Indongo (21-0-KO11) handed Troyanovsky (25-1-KO22) the first defeat of his career and needed only 40 seconds to do so.
A huge flailing left hook from Indongo, who was fighting for the first time outside his homeland, flattened Troyanovsky and sparked wild celebrations from his clearly-excited team.
And there was a similarly explosive display from new WBC Silver cruiserweight champion Dmitry Kudryashov (20-1-KO20), who had Colombia's Santander Silgado (27-4-KO21) on the canvas twice in a dominant first-round success.
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