Longtime cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev is back in action this Saturday as he takes on the challenge of fellow countryman Murat Gassiev at the Khodynka Ice Palace in Moscow, Russia. The fight can be seen as a potential “passing of the torcg” as Lebedev clocks in at 37 years old to take on Gassiev, who is 23 years old. The lines up at the books sees Lebedev, the defending IBF world cruiserweight champion, coming in as a -190 favorite against Gassiev, who is returning at +165. This one may have a live underdog, though Gassiev is only a slight underdog. As well as youth, Gassiev is going to have advantages in height and reach, and with 17 stoppages in his 23 fights, he will be looking to stop Lebedev. Lebedev is proven tough, as evidenced by his war with Guillermo Jones back in May of 2013 that changed the shape of his face forever, but he is not a great defensive fighter and he does get hit a lot. That is a tough formula to take in there to face a bigger, stronger and younger man. Lebedev is a proud champion however, and after the Jones fight many wrote him off for the amont of punishment he took, but he has come back and fought four winning fights, winning the WBA and IBF cruiserweight titles along the way. A win for Lebedev would give him continued legs on his career. It will be interesting to see if Gassiev finds Moscow a hopsitable place to face his fellow countryman, as the two men have ethnic diffrerences with Gassiev hailing from southern Russia. The card also sees IBF Super Lightweight champion Eduard Troyanovksy defending his belt against the challenge of undefeated Julius Indongo (20-0). Troyanovsky, who is an undefeated 25-0 in his won right, is making a third defense of the belt he won in November of 2015 when he took it from Argentina’s Cesar Rene Cuenca. Indongo has held the WBO’s African title for the last two years, but this is the 33 year old’s first fight outside of his native South Africa. For this one, Indongo enters as the +800 underdog, with Troyanovsky returning at -1250. The Ice Palace card has seven fights in all, including 5 fights in the Cruiserweight division. The two other bouts for regional titles that are 12 rounds are also getting attention at the sports books. See the lines below. Cruiserweight 12 rounds – vacant WBA International title Maksim Vlasov +130 Rakhim Chakhkiev -160 Cruiserweight 12 rounds – vacant BC Silver title Santander Silgado +1500 Dmitry Kudryashov -4500
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