Murat Gassiev who is IBF/WBA cruiserweight champion may be fighting the unbeaten contestant Andrew Tabiti on July 21. Previously he was believed to fight WBC/WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk but now it seems unlikely. The talks between Gassiev and Usyk are at a point of deadlock so there are less chances of fight between the two.
The WBSS tournament will lose its charm if a fight Gassiev and Usyk is not arranged. It will not retain its value if finals fail to include Usyk. Usyk has already defeated Mairis Briedis who is ranked as the third best fighter in cruiserweight division.
The Ukrainian Usyk is not in favor of the fight being conducted in Russia. Middle East location is already out of cards as Gassiev faced an injury there during the training sessions. It is expected to generate a lot of money if the fight takes place in Russia but chances are slim as Usyk is not willing. The fight was supposed to happen in Saudi Arabia which is very strange since both fighters are from Eastern Europe. Usyk’s first two fights have been in Germany and Latvia. He has turned out to be ‘Number 1’ in the tournament so far.
In the event that the news about Gassiev facing the 28 year old Tabiti turns out to be true, it would be a bummer for boxing fans as they were anticipating a match between Gassiev and Usyk. A final with someone else in place of Usyk will be an absolute disappointment. A neutral venue must be decided for the fight to take place. Usyk should either be convinced to fight in Russia or another venue must be chosen with mutual consent.
Tabiti is 28 and has been boxing professionally since 2013. His amateur career was not great as he had fought only 38 fights. However, he has been looking great since his recent triumph over 41 year old former cruiserweight champion Steve ‘USS’ Cunningham. He has also achieved a comprehensive win over Quantis Graves and Lateef Kayode. Recent skirmishes have clearly shown that Tabiti has the required potential and he can be much more competitive than he was before. He could be a good choice to face Gassiev but not as great as Usyk. In case of the replacement, Tabiti would get a great opportunity to fight for the title but he is just not good enough to face Gassiev.