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WBSS final postponed after Oleksandr Usyk suffers elbow injury

Anthony Cocks

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The World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) final between Oleksandr Usyk 14-0 (11) and Murat Gassiev 26-0 (19) on May 11 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia has been postponed after the 31-year-old Ukrainian southpaw suffered a minor elbow injury in training.

The fight is expected to be rescheduled as soon as possible.

“Team Usyk has informed Comosa AG that Mr Usyk suffered a minor elbow injury whilst training for his World Boxing Super Series Final against Murat Gassiev, for the Muhammad Ali Trophy,” event promoter Comosa AG announced in a media statement.

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“It has been confirmed by all parties, including Comosa AG appointed independent medical staff, that Mr Usyk is unavailable for the scheduled date of the event, May 11th.

“As such, the May 11th event, due to take place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, has been postponed.

Comosa AG is working in partnership with Team Usyk and Team Gassiev as well as Sela Sport, the local event organisers, to establish a new date for the event.”

Usyk, the 2012 Olympic gold medallist in the heavyweight division, holds the WBC and WBO cruiserweight championships, while Gassiev is the IBF and WBA “super” champion in the same weight class.

Gassiev entered the WBSS off the back of a split decision victory over countryman Denis Lebedev to claim the IBF cruiserweight title in Moscow in December 2016. The 24-year-old California-based Russian boxed his way to the final of the WBSS tournament with a third round knockout of veteran former champion Krzysztof Wlodarczyk 54-4-1 (38) of Poland at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey last October and a twelfth round TKO over big-punching Cuban former champion Yunier Dorticos 22-1 (21) at the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Adler, Russia in February.

Usyk’s path to the final went through Berlin-based Serb and former champion Marco Huck 40-5-1 (27) who he beat by TKO10 at the Max Schmeling Halle in Berlin, Germany last September and Mairis Breidis 23-1 (18) of Latvia who he defeated by majority decision at Arena Riga in Riga, Latvia in January.

There has been speculation on social media that the postponement is designed to allow the fight to be transferred to Russia, where a unification fight between one of their countrymen and a Ukrainian would produce a large live gate.

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