Cruiserweight contender Murat Gassiev accomplished two big things on Tuesday night: He authored the possible knockout of the year and earned a world title shot.
Gassiev scored a devastating first-round knockout of Jordan Shimmell in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions card at the Black Bear Casino Resort in Carlton, Minnesota. In doing so, Gassiev became a mandatory challenger for the winner of the world title unification fight between Argentina's Victor Emilio Ramirez and Russia's Denis Lebedev, who will square off Saturday at the Khodynka Ice Palace in Moscow.
Gassiev (23-0, 17 KOs), 22, of Russia, who shares trainer Abel Sanchez with unified middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin and trains alongside him, finished Shimmell with a flush left hook to the chin that knocked him out cold.
Referee Mark Nelson immediately waved off the fight at 2 minutes, 52 seconds and urgently called for medical attention.
"I was trying to set up the final punch," Gassiev said. "I imitated the overhand right so that I could come back with the left hook. It was a combination that we practiced. It wasn't the most powerful punch, but I snapped it pretty well. I was ready to keep going, but that punch was enough.
"I've trained hard and been improving my skills. I'm going to work and get ready for my title shot. I am extremely happy he got up, and I hope he is OK. I never want to hurt anybody. I just want to win the fight."
Shimmell (20-2, 16 KOs), 27, of Hudsonville, Michigan, whose head slammed against the mat when he went down, was motionless on the canvas for several minutes before regaining consciousness. He was eventually able to get to his feet and walk over to Gassiev's corner to congratulate him and his team.
"I got caught. Gassiev has power," said Shimmell, who has lost two of his past three fights. "It was a clean shot, and I got hit. It is what it is. He's a really good fighter with power. I'll be back. It was a learning experience."