Russia’s Murat Gassiev met Sweden’s Otto Wallin in Antalya, Turkey in a world ranking heavyweight fight of some significance.
The two collided as the headliner which saw Wallin claim the split-decision victory over 12 rounds with two scores of 115-113 for Wallin and a head scratching score from one judge gave Gassiev an oddly wide 117-111.
The right man won in a competitive fight but Wallin’s size and jab were the difference in Turkey. Wallin’s most impressive period came in the middle rounds of the fight, his footwork, head movement and size difference proving difficult for the Russian former cruiserweight champion. The sixth round saw a moment of concern for Gassiev, Wallin hurting him with the right hand pouncing on his slightly wincing opponent. Gassiev hung on in there as Wallin was not able to capitalise on his good work.
Wallin tired in the later round as Gassiev went stalking for the finish, loading up with power shots throughout the contest. Gassiev came forward all night but was consistently caught with Wallin’s bust jab, in turn the Russian appeared to be looking for the big shots almost disregarding his own jab all evening.
However, there were moments in the final two rounds where you would have expected many heavyweights to have finished Wallin as he left more holes in his defense. Gassiev was predictable with obvious one-time power shots. The power that served him so well a weight below was not saving the Russian’s day against the much taller Swede.
Gassiev received a second career defeat, his first against Oleksandr Usyk in 2018 that promoted a move to heavyweight. The Russian’s heavyweight run comes to an abrupt end, his record moving to 30-2 (23 KOs). The former unified cruiserweight champion scored four knockout wins in four fights before tonight’s bout in his newest weight class.
Wallin moves into the top ten of the WBA by all accounts with his win in Antalya. The New York based Scandinavian picked up sixth straight win over Gassiev, His only defeat coming at the hand of Tyson Fury in 2019. Wallin’s record improves to 26-1 (14 KOs).