Murat Gassiev moves to heavyweight, signs co-promotional deal with Matchroom

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Another fighter is making the move up to heavyweight and will compete in a now-deeper division.

Murat Gassiev has signed a co-promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing, it was announced Thursday.

The 25-year-old Gassiev, who held the IBF and WBA cruiserweight titles, will follow in the footsteps of former undisputed cruiserweight champion Aleksandr Usyk, who defeated Gassiev in a unification title fight on July 21 in Moscow.

The Gassiev signing also comes on the heels of Matchroom Boxing signing Usyk earlier this year and contender Michael Hunter to a promotional contract last week. Usyk will make his heavyweight debut against Carlos Takam on May 25 in Oxon Hill, Maryland.

Gassiev (26-1 1 NC, 19 knockouts) first gained attention as a dangerous puncher in May of 2016, when he scored a highlight-reel one-punch knockout of Jordan Shimmell. He would win the IBF title in his next bout in December, defeating titleholder Denis Lebedev by split-decision and would add the WBA title with a dramatic knockout win over Yuniel Dorticos on Feb. 3 of last year.

Gassiev, who is still promoted by Ural Boxing and Warriors Boxing, is scheduled to return to the ring in June, with DAZN streaming the fight live.

“I am very happy to announce the beginning of cooperation between my promoters, Ural and Warriors with Matchroom Boxing USA and DAZN,” said Gassiev in a release. “I am confident that this cooperation will bring great results. I want to make all my fans around the world happy and realize my full potential in the exciting heavyweight division.”

“I’m delighted to welcome Murat to the team,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Having unified the division at cruiserweight, I feel Murat is a very exciting addition to the heavyweight division and what a fantastic time to join it. We have lost of fights ready for him and I can’t wait to see him fighting at heavyweight very soon.”

Gassiev, who is originally from Vladikavkav, Russia, resides in Big Bear Lake, California, where he is trained by Abel Sanchez.

Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV.com since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and FightNights.com. He can be reached by email at santio89@yahoo.com or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing 

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