By Keith Idec

Each of Yunier Dorticos’ first 22 professional fights have taken place in the United States.

The Cuban defector resides in Miami and mostly has fought in Florida since he turned pro in August 2009. The WBA’s “super” cruiserweight champion initially was led to believe Miami would be the site for his World Boxing Super Series semifinal against Russia’s Murat Gassiev.

Once Dorticos (22-0, 21 KOs) learned his fight against Gassiev (25-0, 18 KOs, 1 NC) on Saturday night would be held in Sochi, Russia, it didn’t bother him at all. The knockout artist isn’t worried about their scheduled 12-round fight going to the scorecards because he is certain he’ll knock out his rugged Russian opponent.

“They told me the fight was gonna be in Miami, but I don’t know what the Russians might’ve said,” Dorticos said during a WBSS promotional documentary. “Now it’s gonna be in Russia. That doesn’t sadden me or make me feel bad. Let me repeat – I feel better fighting in their backyard. That night, I will make it clear to the whole world who the ‘KO Doctor’ is.

“I’ve gone to Russia six times [as an amateur], and the six times I’ve gone I’ve caused problems there. I’m a fighter who was made for this, to fight anywhere.”

The extremely confident Dorticos thinks he’ll even turn Gassiev’s army of supporters into his fans once he beats the IBF cruiserweight champ in impressive fashion at Bolshoy Ice Dome.

“I imagine the moment when all the Russians are chanting, ‘Gassiev! Gassiev!,’ ” Dorticos said. “And the moment when everything turns upside down, the Russians will learn to speak Spanish. ‘Dorticos! Dorticos!’ Just wait and see. With God’s help, I’ll go there and solve the situation. I’ll lay my hands on him and make it clear that I’m the king of 200 pounds.”

The Dorticos-Gassiev winner will advance to the WBSS cruiserweight final, in which he’ll encounter Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk (14-0, 11 KOs), the WBC/WBO cruiserweight champ. That fight will take place on an undetermined May date in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.