Abel Sanchez, trainer for former cruiserweight champion Murat Gassiev, thinks his boxer will be deadlier at the heavyweight limit.
The 27-year-old dangerous puncher has been out of the ring since 2018, due to injuries and the coronavirus pandemic.
“He was killing himself to make weight for cruiserweight. That’s not an excuse – Usyk was the better man on the night. We look forward to meeting Usyk at heavyweight,” Sanchez told Sky Sports.
“I first started working with him when he was nearly 20 years old. He was 192-pounds back then. I saw his frame and his hands – he has tremendously big hands. I said: ‘This young man will dominate the cruiserweight ranks then become a very good heavyweight’. It took a little longer to get to the heavyweights, but he will be good. I anticipated this when I first started working with him. His hands told me everything. He is as big a puncher as the best heavyweights.”
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Sanchez believes Gassiev, due to his power, will be better at the weight than Usyk.
“Like Evander Holyfield he has the speed of a cruiserweight. His speed and quickness will be the difference against heavyweights, the same as Oleksandr Usyk,” Sanchez said.
“But will Usyk have the strength to handle heavyweights? He doesn’t have a big punch. In the heavyweight division you need to have something that keeps people back.”
Sanchez is so confident in Gassiev’s ability at heavyweight – he’s willing to match him tough against the big contenders.
“I would like to fight Adam Kownacki, Robert Helenius or Andy Ruiz Jr. But he hasn’t fought in two years so I would like a tune-up fight first,” Sanchez said.