By Derek Gionta: As 2016 comes to a close, the boxing world reflects on the year’s excitement, downfalls, and potential for the upcoming year. Recognizing the year’s top performers provides plenty of optimism in the minds of all that embrace the sweet science. A number of fighters and contributors are all to thank, or in some cases blame, for what transpired inside the squared circle. Let’s emphasize the positives. Every fan loves a knockout. Secondsout.com writers voted among a number of fight-ending annihilations, with Murat Gassiev’s 1st round destruction of Jordan Shimmell earning the 2016 Knockout of the Year.
Gassiev, 24-0, 17 KO’s, migrated from Russia to the popular training grounds of Big Bear, California in recent years, joining forces with famed trainer Abel Sanchez.
Sanchez, also the trainer of Gennady "Triple G" Golovkin, has seen his fair share of knockouts from the corner. The current leader behind now IBF cruiserweight champion Gassiev, Sanchez reflected on what went on in the Black Bear Casino in Carlton, Minnesota this past May.
"The fight against Shimmell was his coming out party," said Sanchez.
Gassiev entered the bout with a an undefeated record and had an opportunity to showcase his abilities on the PBC Fox Sports 1 Tuesday night series. Michigan’s Jordan Shimmell stood in his way. A solid puncher sporting a record of 20-1 with 16 KO’s entering the bout, the match-up forecasted a sure made-for-TV bout.
The 6’3" Gassiev patiently jabbed and allowed Shimmell to show him what he had in the early moments of round one. It was evident Shimmell needed to box and avoid the power of the young Russian.
Consistent single jabs to the head and body with an occasional follow-up right hand kept Shimmell on the move. Shimmell looked to land two and three piece combinations to alleviate the attack. As the round neared the ten second mark, it took one single left hook to the side of Shimmell’s face that sent the Michigan native crashing to the canvas.
With his legs bent underneath him and his right arm hanging off of the ring apron, referee Mark Nelson immediately stopped the fight with no intentions of counting.
Monessen, PA Welterweight Sammy Vasquez, who was a special guest commentator for the PBC card, shared his thoughts on the knockout.
"Gassiev is a monster. That knockout he gave Shimmell was nasty and scary at the same time," said Vasquez.
"Those are the knockouts that make you realize how serious this sport it is."
Knockouts come in all forms. What separated this one from other knockouts over the year was the instant effect it had and the devastation of the force behind it.
Gassiev went on to win the IBF cruiserweight title in his next bout, defeating fellow Russian Denis Lebedev by split decision. The future looks bright for the young 23 year old, whom Sanchez feels has room to grow into something bigger.
"He will unify and hopefully grow to 6’5" then move up to heavyweight in a couple of years," stated Sanchez.
Like many fighters, Gassiev’s background and IQ quickly put him in a position to obtain his recent accomplishments on his path to an undefeated record and a world title. More will be sure to come if he continues on this path. At this point, one of his biggest moments as a pro will be the knockout he scored on May 17, 2016 in Carlton, Minnesota: The 2016 SecondsOut Knockout of the Year.
December 31, 2016