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Video: Murat Gassiev knocks Yunier Dorticos through the ropes in dramatic 12th round

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The second World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight semifinal between Murat Gassiev and Yunier Dorticos ended in spectacularly violent fashion.

Cruiserweights Murat Gassiev and Yunier Dorticos were not expected to go the distance in their World Boxing Super Series semifinal matchup.

They almost did. Key word in that sentence is almost.

In front of more than 14,000 fans at the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Sochi, Russia, Gassiev (26-0-1 NC, 18 KOs) knocked out Cuba’s Dorticos (22-1, 21 KOs) in the 12th and final round of a truly enthralling contest. The three scorecards all had Gassiev winning at the time of the stoppage (106-103, 106-103, and 105-104), as the Russian established control of the proceedings towards the midway mark of the fight.

Dorticos got off to a strong start against the home favorite, bothering Gassiev with his jab, high workrate, and aggressive pressuring. Gassiev responded by digging into Dorticos’ body and steadily becoming the aggressor himself, and somehow Dorticos ate some absolutely monstrous punches as the fight progressed. Dorticos clearly started to fade in the later rounds, but to his credit he was always ready to counter after getting tagged. Gassiev not only attacked the body, he ripped apart Dorticos with vicious uppercuts, many of them as part of a combination.

At the end of round 11, big shots from Gassiev finally sent Dorticos stumbling backwards and in need of a clinch to stop the onslaught. He survived Gassiev’s desire for the finish and made it to the final round, but Gassiev was determined to get the KO. A massive left hook felled Dorticos with less than 90 seconds to go in the fight. Dorticos somehow got up, only to take more punishment and be sent tumbling again. Gassiev turned up the heat even more, swinging haymakers at Dorticos, who bravely tried to stay on his feet and fight back, but wound up getting knocked out through the ropes.

Not only did Gassiev get the win with just eight seconds left, he took Dorticos’ WBA title, so Gassiev has unified the WBA and IBF titles, and his next opponent will be Oleksandr Usyk (14-0, 11 KOs), owner of the WBC and WBO titles. May 11th in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia will be not just for the World Boxing Super Series tournament final, but a true undisputed cruiserweight champion.

Watch the finish below, courtesy of Grabaka Hitman:

Other highlights of Gassiev’s work:

Hats off to Gassiev and Dorticos for a terrific fight, but the Abel Sanchez-trained Gassiev was a deserved winner after a tremendous performance against a dangerous opponent. His friend and training partner Gennady Golovkin was in attendance, and he definitely witnessed a “big drama show” on Saturday night. The 24-year-old has been dubbed “The next GGG” by Sanchez, and he looks like a future force in world boxing.

Here’s the staredown between Gassiev and Usyk to get you excited for May 11th:

World Boxing Super Series returns with the super-middleweight semifinals between George Groves (27-3, 20 KOs) and Chris Eubank Jr. (26-1, 20 KOs) on Saturday, February 17th in Manchester, England.

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