Gallant Gassiev snatches world title from veteran Lebedev

Russian boxing sensation Murat Gassiev came through a tough war with veteran Denis Lebedev to win a split decision and snatch the IBF cruiserweight title from the veteran.

Muscle-bound Gassiev’s trainer Abel Sanchez said before the fight it was time for a “changing of the guard” and early on in the fight, it looked as though his prediction was to prove correct.

The 23-year-old controlled the action from the opening bell and in round five landed a thunderous shot to Lebedev’s liver to send the champion reeling.

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Lebedev rose and fought back courageously but it wasn’t enough to save him from being on the wrong end of a 116-112, 116-111, 113-114 split decision from the judges.

It is the third loss of Lebedev’s career, whereas Gassiev extends his unbeaten streak to 24 wins – the 24th is undoubtedly the sweetest in his career so far.