Moscow, Russia (December 3rd, 2016)– At The Ice Palace in Moscow, unbeaten challenger Murat Gassiev scored a 12-round split decision victory over defending IBF cruiserweight champ Denis Lebedev. Gassiev, now (24-0, 17 KOs) won by the scores of 116-112 and 116-111, the third judge had it 114-113 for Lebedev, who is now (29-3, 22 KOs).
A very tough, hard-fought battle, tonight’s main event saw both men take plenty of punches. Lebedev, who is 14 years older at age 37, used his boxing skills when he could, using plenty of movement and pumping out his sharp southpaw jab. Gassiev who is a dangerous puncher, stalked his man and though he was guilty of being one-paced at times, the challenger was both catching Lebedev with shots and making the older man work.
In the 5th-round when Gassiev landed a powerful left hand to the body that knocked Lebedev down. Lebedev beat the count but he managed to see out the round as Gassiev tried to land another body shot on the same exact spot. By this stage of the fight that had now become a gruelling affair, Lebedev’s face was marking up noticeably. It wasn’t to the extent of the gruesome Guillermo Jones fight of 2013.