Slowly getting into his best shape, Murat "Iron" Gassiev made the successful second step as a heavyweight by stopping huge German counterpart Michael Wallisch in four rounds at the Dynamo Volleyball Arena in Moscow, Russia. Gassiev vs. Wallisch was the main event of a multi-fight card, promoted by Russian top promoter Vladimir Hryunov in association with the Ural Boxing Promotions and Patriot Boxing Promotions, and co-organized by the Russian Boxing Federation and Ren-TV channel.
Gassiev, 27, was fighting for the second time after two year off the ring, caused by various issues, including promotional struggles. In October 2020, the former WBA/IBF unified cruiserweight beltholder blitzed overmatched Nuri Seferi in just a round. Wallisch, 35, was a step up in the level of competition though his latest fights were mostly disastrous, as he was stopped four times in a span of eighteen months between December 2018 and July 2020.
The Ossetian fighter looked like a solid mid-sized heavyweight and he fought the first round in that manner. A taller, yet lighter, Wallisch tried to use lateral movement to avoid danger, Gassiev moved slowly, carefully stalking the German around the ring. There wasn't much action in the first but Gassiev's dominance was punctuated by a huge overhand right, which caught Wallisch's attention.
Gassiev appeqred to be in a near sleepy mode in the second round, and Wallisch accepted it and took the initiative. He was firing off a double hook and used his pumping left hand to distract Iron. Nothing of note landed but Gassiev, a notoriously slow starter, was rather stationary and didn’t do much in the round, which should have been scored in Wallisch's favour.
A fighter from Russia made some slight changes in the third and became a notch more active, which immediately evened the ground. Still, Gassiev didn't use his jab, just pressing Wallisch around almost without punches. The German landed some shots, and Gassiev nodded in acceptance.
The fourth was very different. The Ossetian boxer immediately started to land huge power shots, targeting both the head and the body of Wallisch. Gassiev's left hook to the body put a grimace of pain onto the German's face and forced a four-week sub to put his right hand down. Another left hook almost doubled Wallisch down. And then, it that wasn't enough, Murat switched on his right hand, landing crisp shots. Wallisch, clearly dazed, tried to retreat but there was no retreat for the German boxer. Late in the round, Gassiev connected with a hard overhand right that put Wallisch down on his pants. Up at eight, the German was still wobbly a bit and the few seconds needed to insert a mouthpiece back into his mouth wasn't enough. Gassiev immediately jumped at his victim and started winging. Referee Yuri Koptsev intervened and stopped it simultaneously with the bell to end round four. The German corner protested but the protest was quite sluggish.
With the win, Gassiev not only upped his record to 28-1, 21 KOs, but also acquired a minor WBA Asian heavyweight title. Wallisch's career continued to degrade as he moved down to 22-5, 15 KOs. Russia's first heavyweight beltholder Nikolay Valuev, who worked as an expert during the broadcast, congratulated Murat in the ring. Interestingly, working with Valuev - as a color commentator - was another famed boxer, former WBC cruiserweight titleholder Grigory Drozd.