Which would emerge victorious, power or precision?
In what seemed a matchup of puncher vs. boxer in Tuesday night’s 200-pound world title eliminator, Murat Gassiev provided a quick and definitive answer against Jordan Shimmell with a sensational first-round knockout at Black Bear Casino Resort in Carlton, Minnesota.
The end came emphatically late in the round as Gassiev unleashed a lights-out left hook to the chin that flattened Shimmell and knocked him out cold as referee Mark Nelson waived the count, officially ending the bout at the 2:54 mark.
“I was trying to set up the final punch,” Gassiev said. “I imitated the right overhand so that I could come back with the left hook. It was a combination that we practiced. It wasn’t the most powerful punch, but I snapped it pretty well.
“I was seeing all of his punches, following instructions from my trainer, Abel Sanchez, feeling him out, cutting off the angles and setting up the combinations we’ve been working on. I’ve trained hard and I’ve been improving my skills. I was still ready to go, but that punch was enough.”
Shimmell (20-2, 16 KOs), of Hudsonville, Michigan, laid unconscious momentarily on the canvas, where he was treated by ringside doctors and received oxygen before regaining his senses and walking across the ring to congratulate Gassiev (23-0, 17 KOs).
“I got caught,” Shimmell said. “Gassiev has power. It was a clean shot and I got hit. It is what it is. He’s a really good fighter with power. I’ll be back. It was a learning experience.”
With Gassiev’s victory, the 22-year-old Russian becomes the mandatory challenger to fight the winner of Saturday’s title-unification bout between 200-pound champions Denis Lebedev and Victor Emilio Ramirez.
“That was the perfect punch. It’s got to be the knockout of the year so far,” promoter Leon Margules said of Gassiev’s final blow. “Murat is the best cruiserweight in the world, and now he’ll get a title shot if either Lebedev or Ramirez has the guts to fight him.”
Gassiev, who sparred earlier this month with undefeated heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, expressed relief at seeing Shimmell, 27, finally reach his feet after the fight.
“I was thinking that he would get up sooner, so I was very concerned. I was worried, but very happy that he got up and he was OK,” Gassiev said. “I didn’t want to cause him any permanent harm; I just wanted to win the fight.”
In other televised fights, veteran heavyweight Joey Abell (32-9, 30 KOs) scored three knockdowns en route to a third-round TKO of previously unbeaten Wes Nofire (19-1, 15 KOs); Stephan Shaw (7-0, 5 KOs) won a unanimous decision over Danny Kelly (9-3-1, 8 KOs) in a six-round heavyweight bout; and 126-pound prospect Leduan Barthelemy (10-0, 6 KOs), the younger brother of 135-pound world champion Rances Barthelemy, gained a second-round TKO of Rafael Eduardo Reyes (7-8, 6 KOs).
For complete coverage of Gassiev vs Shimmell, visit our fight page.