MURAT GASSIEV dropped and outpointed Denis Lebedev to win the IBF world cruiserweight title in Moscow, Russia yesterday in an absorbing affair.
The 23-year-old unbeaten Russia, trained by Abel Sanchez, was vying for his first world title though unified champion Lebedev was not defending his WBA belt at the Khodynka Ice Palace.
The defending 37-year-old champion got off to the better start, outboxing Gassiev and keeping him at range. The challenger closed the distance and in the fifth turned the fight in his favour with a vicious left hook to the liver. Lebedev dropped to his knees, wincing in pain, but he managed to find his feet and beat referee Albert Earl Brown’s count.