The Oleksandr Usyk vs. Murat Gasiev fight on Saturday could provide one of the best matchups of the entire year—and possibly one of the best cruiserweight bouts in the division’s history. It’s the finals of the World Boxing Super Series for the 200-pounders, and the winner will be the undisputed champion.
Both fighters have looked impressive in their previous WBSS matchups (Usyk stopped Marco Huck last September and pulled out a majority decision victory vs. Mairis Briedis in January, while Gasiev scored knockouts vs. Krzysztof Wlodarczyk and Yunier Dorticos), and these two are clearly the best in the cruiserweight division. Not to mention that it’s virtually a betting pick ‘em (Usyk is -110 and Gasiev is -120).
But that’s not the only important bout of the weekend. Here’s a preview of everything you should try to watch in boxing this weekend.
Usyk (14-0, 11 KOs) vs. Gassiev (26-0, 19 KOs), KlowdTV: Unfortunately for American viewers, this bout can’t be found on TV. The only option is to livestream it on KlowdTV, beginning at 3 p.m. ET. But the platform isn’t allowing viewers to use its normal seven-day free preview on this fight, so it’ll cost you $9.99 to watch. Yet, it’s probably an event that will be well worth it. Said promoter Kalle Sutherland, “We are looking forward to seeing a fight between two unbelievable gladiators. This is the fight of the year, make no mistake. Thank you very much to everyone involved, but most of all thanks to the fighters who are putting everything on the line on Saturday. It is going to be a sensational fight.”
Jaime Munguia (29-0, 25 KOs) vs. Liam Smith (26-1-1, 14 KOs), HBO: Hardly anybody knew much about Munguia before he tried to take Sadam Ali’s junior middleweight title in May. Then, this happened.
Munguia is a -1200 betting favorite, meaning you’d have to wager $1,200 to win $100, but Smith isn’t necessarily a pushover. Yes, he was knocked out by a wicked Canelo Alvarez body punch in 2016, but Smith has won three-straight fights, including back-to-back victories against Liam Williams, to put himself in a position to win another 154-pound title. “Liam Smith is a tough fighter,” said Munguia—who, via ESPN, will make a $200,000 purse to Smith’s $75,000 payday. “We know what kind of style he has. He’s the type of fighter who will come forward and throw a lot of punches. … We both come forward and we both throw a lot of punches, so there is a high possibility that this fight will end in a knockout.”
Cecilia Braekhus (33-0, 9 KOs) vs. Inna Sagayadovskya (7-0, 3 KOs), KlowdTV: Despite being stunned a couple of times (and knocked down once) in her last fight, Braekhus is the best women’s fighter in the world, and she’ll get to show off her skills on the Usyk-Gassiev undercard. But she’ll have at least one challenge trying to beat Sagayadovskya in Sagayadovskya’s home country. “This is her home turf,” Braekhus, a Norway native, told Forbes. “On Saturday, the whole stadium will be rooting for the home boxer, of course. That’s something that will be a challenge.”
Crawford’s next move: Terence Crawford, No. 5 on the Pound-For-Pound Moneymakers list, doesn’t want his next fight to be in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum previously said that’s where Crawford would fight next, but Crawford isn’t interested.
“I believe Las Vegas and New York are the bigger markets for boxing,” Crawford told the Los Angeles Times. “When you get your name out there in Las Vegas and New York, that boosts your brand even more. My name itself is huge in Omaha. That’s not a target I need to focus on because we know we can sell out.
“Now we need to focus on selling out Las Vegas and New York. They have their deals with the venues, but I’ve expressed my thoughts on that whole aspect of fighting there … we have to wait and see.”
In response, Arum said Crawford’s wish “will be our command.”
In his last 10 fights, Crawford has fought five times in Nebraska.