Murat Gassiev to debut at heavyweight in June

Former unified cruiserweight word titlist Murat Gassiev is moving up to the heavyweight division and will get started in June after signing a co-promotional agreement with Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn on Thursday.

Gassiev, a devastating puncher, brought on Matchroom Boxing to co-promote him along with Ural Boxing and Warriors Boxing and will fight on the sports streaming service DAZN, where Hearn has a long-term deal.

"Having unified [two belts] at cruiserweight, I feel Murat is a very exciting addition to the heavyweight division, and what a fantastic time to join it," Hearn said. "We have lots of fights ready made for him, and I can't wait to see him fighting at heavyweight very soon."

There is no set date or location for Gassiev's heavyweight debut other than June. But if Gassiev (26-1, 19 KOs), 25, of Russia, gets rolling at heavyweight he could find himself in position to eventually challenge unified titlist Anthony Joshua, who is also with Hearn.

"I am very happy to announce the beginning of cooperation between my promoters, URAL and Warriors with Matchroom Boxing USA and DAZN," said Gassiev, who is trained by Abel Sanchez in Big Bear Lake, California. "I am confident that this cooperation will bring great results. I want to make all my fans around the world happy and realize my full potential in the exciting heavyweight division."

Gassiev won a cruiserweight title by decision over countryman Denis Lebedev in December 2016 and then immediately joined the field of the World Boxing Super Series' first-season cruiserweight tournament.

Gassiev blew away former titlist Krzysztof Wlodarczyk in the third round in his first defense in Newark, New Jersey, in October 2017 in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, Gassiev knocked out Yunier Dorticos in the 12th round to unify two titles in February 2018 in Sochi, Russia, in an action-packed fight of the year contender.

But in the tournament final, Gassiev met Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed world title in July in Moscow and was outclassed in a near-shutout decision loss. Usyk, who is also co-promoted by Matchroom Boxing, will make his heavyweight debut on May 25.