Scorecard: Lebedev vs Gassiev
Luke G. Williams
Murat Gassiev defeated Boxing Monthly's number one ranked cruiserweight Denis Lebedev in Moscow on Saturday night via a split points decision. Here is how Luke G. Williams saw the contest.
Round 1: Gassiev is markedly the taller man, but looks a little nervy and stiff. Lebedev edges a quiet round with some effective counters. 10-9 Lebedev
Round 2: Lebedev starts the quicker of the two boxers. Gassiev can't get his jab going and the champion, with a few bursts of effective action, takes the round. 10-9 Lebedev
Round 3: Gassiev is encouraged after landing an early jab and this proves his best round to date. He's more aggressive, and lands some good shots. 10-9 Gassiev
Round 4: Gassiev warms to his work early on, forcing Lebedev on to the back foot in the first half of the round, The champion rallies well though and nicks the round with his greater volume of scoring shots. 10-9 Lebedev
Round 5: A dramatic round! A crunching left-hand body shot from Gassiev sees Lebedev down! The champion is badly winded and takes a knee as he rises! He is up just in time to beast the count and survives the round, but is in trouble. 10-8 Gassiev
Round 6: Back roars Lebedev! Such heart! He opens up and makes Gassiev look static and ponderous. Then it's Gassiev who responds with some great body shots! Then Lebedev rallies again! Excellent round! 10-9 Lebedev
Round 7: The more active Lebedev out scores the challenger, who is more sparing with his shots as he seeks another decisive opening. Gassiev lands a good shot late on, but not enough to take it on my card. 10-9 Lebedev
Round 8: For me, Gassiev is not doing enough to edge these tight rounds. His occasional hard shots are overshadowed by Lebedev's canny movements and flurries of scoring shots. Gassiev needs to get his shots off quicker. 10-9 Lebedev
Round 9: Gassiev stalks his man. Lebedev is looking a little tired but is still swinging, but it's the challenger who lands some crunching shots to to edge the round on my card. 10-9 Gassiev
Round 10: Lebedev lands a good left, Gassiev responds with excellent body shots. Lebedev tries to keep moving and land scoring shots but I think Gassiev bossed that round. 10-9 Gassiev
Round 11: A big start to the round from Lebedev who is the busier, and lands several scoring shots. Gassiev takes too long to pull the trigger and let the round slip away there I think. Great rally by the champ. 10-9 Lebedev
Round 12: Great action in the last round! Lebedev never stops swinging and scoring, Gassiev was out-hustled for me by a more active and experienced boxer. 10-9 Lebedev
Verdict: An exciting fight that could, truth be told, have gone either way. Some will have preferred Lebedev's greater volume of scoring shots and activity, others will have felt that Gassiev's work was the more powerful and hurtful. I saw it in favour of the champion, but regardless of the outcome, this was a cracking contest between two very tough and committed professionals that reflects a lot of credit on the sport, and the cruiserweight division.
(Judges' scores 114-113 to Lebedev,. 116-112 and 116-111 to Gassiev. I had it 115-112 to Lebedev).