Former IBF/WBA cruiserweight chapion Murat Gassiev (pictured), has been inactive since losing to Oleksandr Usyk in 2018. But Gassiev will make his heavyweight debut against Jerry Forrest (26-3 with 20 KOs) at The Star in Frisco, Texas on Saturday February 29th, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK. Also added to the show is rising junior middleweight Israil Madrimov against Venezuela's Charlie Navarro (29-9 22 KOs).
Gassiev (26-1 19 KOs) announced his move to heavyweight in April of last year after signing a promotional deal with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing USA, Ural Boxing and Warriors Boxing to fight on DAZN. The Russian banger was set to make his heavyweight bow in July against Joey Dawejko but a shoulder injury forced the 26 year-old to delay his entrance into the new weight class. Now a fully fit Gassiev does get the chance to debut in the Lone Star state, this time against seasoned Louisianan Forrest , the active 31 year old who has five wins in six fights in the last 12 months.
“I’m so happy to finally be able to make my debut at heavyweight,” said Gassiev. “It has been frustrating not being able to fight but I am ready to go now, and I want to make up for lost time. When I box in Frisco it will have been nearly 600 days since I’ve fought and a lot has happened in the heavyweight division over that time – I know that I can be a world champion at heavyweight but I need to show to the rest of the division that I am a serious threat, and that starts on February 29th.”
Madrimov (listed as 4-0 but more accurately 10-1 because he fought professionally in the World Series of Boxing) fights in an official eliminator for the WBA #2 position.
The 24 year-old Uzbekistani talent will be buoyed by his fellow countryman and stablemate ‘MJ’ Murodjon Akhmadaliev becoming Uzbekistan’s first ever unified champion, and victory over the experienced Navarro will edge Madrimov closer to a World title shot in 2020. “I am so excited to be getting my first fight of 2020 on such a big card in Frisco,” saidMadrimov. “I was so happy to watch MJ beat Daniel Roman in Miami last weekend, and that win has spurred me on to join him as a World champion this year. Navarro is a proud and experienced fighter and I know he will be a great test for me, but this is a great night for me to showcase my talents and show the rest of the division that I am ready to win world titles.”
In the main event on February 29th, four-division champ Mikey Garcia faces Jessie Vargas in a blockbuster welterweight showdown...
Garcia will also showcase two of his Garcia Promotions charges on his undercard with 20 year old Texas flyweight Jesse Rodriguez (10-0 6 KOs) clashing with Marco Sustaita (12-2-1 10 KOs) over ten rounds...
Mexican Middleweight Leo Ruiz Acevedo (6-0 4 KOs) faces on Dennis Knifechief (12-11 7 KOs) over six rounds.
“It’s great to have Jesse and Leo on the Frisco card that I am headlining against Jessie Vargas,” said Mikey Garcia. “Jesse’s fight with Marco is a really tough fight for both guys and it’s a real step up for Jesse, while Leo is on a great KO run and will be a threat in the Middleweight division in 2020 – February 29 is going to be a huge night of boxing and we’re looking to get three big wins.”
Kal Yafai (26-0,15 KOs) puts his WBA super flyweight title on the line against the former pound-for-pound king and four-weight ruler Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez (48-2 40 KOs)...
Julio Cesar Martinez (15-1 12 KOs) makes the first defense of his WBC flyweight title against unbeaten European champion Jay Harris (17-0 9 KOs).