Murat Gassiev Gets KO Victory Over Mike Balogun
In his fourth fight as a heavyweight, Murat “Iron” Gassiev (30-1, 23KO) handed Mike Balogun (20-1, 16KO) the first blemish on his record with a second-round knockout.
Gassiev, going up against the southpaw heavyweight, came forward working behind the jab before landing a perfect right hand that dropped Balogun like a wet bag of laundry. As the referee administered the count, the 39 year-old from Maryland crawled around on his knees until the count of ten.
This was Gassiev’s fourth knockout stoppage in a row since losing the unified cruiserweight titles to Oleksandr Usyk in 2018. Furthermore, he captured the vacant minor WBA Inter-Continental title in the process. The problem for the Russian has been inactivity. Fighting only once a year has prevented him from making a dent in the rankings as a heavyweight.
GASSIEV HAS TO LOOK TO FIGHT A QUALITY OPPONENT
Yes, he holds a spot in the IBF at #13, but a step up in competition against a quality opponent in the next fight is a must. When looking at the rankings, two names would help bolster his heavyweight profile.
There is one-time title challenger Dillian Whyte, who is currently available. Whyte got snubbed from a rematch with former unified champion Anthony Joshua for the man he beat in Jermaine Franklin. Ranked #6 (WBC) and #10 by the IBF, Whyte is a good choice for a possible next opponent.
Iron could look in the direction of Otto Wallin as another viable option. Wallin has not lost a fight since losing to WBC champion Tyson Fury in 2019. Moreover, Wallin is ranked #3 WBO, #9 WBC, and #12 IBF. In his last outing, he dominated an overmatched Helaman Olguin on January 27.
If Gassiev plans on making a serious run toward a title opportunity, the time is now.