Okolie v Chamberlain/ Gassiev v Dorticos



Evening all. Two big bouts from the Cruiserweight division for you tonight as four undefeated fighters collide. Murat Gassiev and Yunier Dorticos meet in Sochi, Russia with the IBF and WBA world titles plus a place in the World Boxing Super Series on the line while top prospects Lawrence Okolie and Isaac Chamberlain settle their heated feud in London, England. Updates of both from 21:45 GMT

Alright folks? Big night of cruiserweight boxing across Europe. I'm Alistair Sargent and I'm here to describe the action from Murat Gassiev vs Yunier Dorticos in the World Boxing Super Series semi-final and Lawrence Okolie vs Isaac Chamberlain in an all-British grudge match. Four undefeated fighters, two O's have to go! Both fights due to begin in about 30 minutes time.

Spotlight on the cruiserweight division today. While you wait on the action kicking off why not have a read of my thoughts on the cruisers in our latest weekly column? https://www.bytheminute.co/events/6904-by-the-way-weekly-columns-cruiser-great-heavy-state-ally-sargent-examines-why-cruiserweight-is-such-a-great-division-but-isn-t-given-the-same-treatment-as-the-heavyweight-live-29-jan-2018

So what is on the menu tonight? Well we've IBF world champion Murat Gassiev vs WBA world champion Yunier Dorticos with both world titles and a spot in the World Boxing Super Series final against Oleksandr Usyk awaiting the winner. And in London we have the heated rivalry between young prospects Lawrence Okolie and Isaac Chamberlian coming to a head.

Two intriguing bouts between four unbeaten fighters. 24 year-old Russian Murat Gassiev has 25 wins, with 18 KOs. His opponent, the 31 year-old Cuban Yunier Dorticos has 22 victories with a mighty impessive 21 KOs. 6 foot 5, 25 year-old Londoner Okolie has won his 7 pro fights while Chamberlain has won all 9 of his. Two unbeaten prospects looking to take their career to the next level.

Gassiev and Dorticos both scored impressive, early stoppage victories in the quarter-final to set up their showdown tonight. A place in May's final in Jeddah is within touching distance. Don't expect it to take the judges to pick a winner. Chamberlain sparred with Oleksandr Usyk ahead of his semi-final last weekend, and has sparred Deontay Wilder. Good practice indeed. Okolie is an AJ protegee.

Gassiev and Dorticos will be ring walking in Sochi in 3 minutes. You can be sure of that with the World Boxing Super Series run with all the efficiency of a Swiss train company. We'll then get about 10 or 15 minutes of hype, national anthems and introductions before the opening bell. Okolie and Chamberlain will follow the conclusion of the final undercard bout which is about to begin.

Here come the World Boxing Super Series semi-finalists. Four minutes behind schedule. They're slacking here! "KO Doctor" Yunier Dorticos out first. He is defending his WBA world title tonight on enemy soil in Russia.

And here comes the home fighter. #2 seed, "Iron" Murat Gassiev. Pretty sure someone else had that nickname didn't they? Get your own! Russian crowd give their man a warm welcome to the Bolshoy Ice Dome. Careful that doesn't melt... Gassiev being flanked by his trainer Abel Sanchez. His top charge GGG is in attendance to support his stable mate.

Big chants of "Murat, Murat" go up as the smoke and lights surround the fighters outside the ring. Quite the spectacle all this. Are you watching Eddie Hearn?