Losing for the first time hurt Jordan Shimmell’s pride, but really not much else.
In dropping a 10-round unanimous decision to fellow Michigan resident Isiah Thomas in Las Vegas last July, Shimmell was constantly stymied by the 6-foot-4 southpaw’s clinching tactics and well-timed counterpunching.
And while he avoided any heavy blows, the 6-foot-3 Shimmell was unable to land enough telling punches against Thomas despite being the aggressor for most of the bout.
“My fight against Isiah, I wasn’t clicking on all cylinders. I was pushing too much and trying too hard to land big punches instead of allowing other punches to open up the shots,” Shimmell said.
“Isiah’s a very good defensive fighter, and he was able to keep me at bay, hold and do whatever he had to do to make it an ugly fight to get the win. I just had an off night. Unfortunately, that night was on fight night.”
Having put that defeat aside, Jordan Shimmell (20-1, 16 KOs) has a chance to move a step closer to his first world title fight when he faces Russian power puncher Murat Gassiev (22-0, 16 KOs) in a 200-pound title-elimination bout Tuesday from Black Bear Casino Resort in Carlton, Minnesota (Fox Sports 1, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
The Gassiev-Shimmell winner will become the mandatory challenger to fight the winner of the May 21 title-unification bout between 200-pound champions Denis Lebedev and Victor Emilio Ramirez.
Shimmell, 27, shook off the Thomas loss in February when he overwhelmed Willis Lockett, who was floored twice in the second round before being disqualified in the fourth for excessive holding. He said he understands the magnitude of the potentially career-changing challenge ahead of him.
“Immediately after the Thomas fight, I was upset with my performance, but I returned to training and my last fight went well,” Shimmell said.
“Now I’m back in a televised fight. This is a great opportunity, because I probably won’t have the same jitters as I did against Thomas. I’m looking forward to this shot at propelling myself forward.”
For a complete look at Gassiev vs Shimmell, visit our fight page.