What we can learn from Murat Gassiev’s first round KO of Jordan Shimell last night

Here we see Shimell spear a defensively risky right hand to the body. Throwing a right hand from this position exposes his chin and leaves him very vulnerable. Shimell correctly mitigates the gamble though by distracting Gassiev with a series of jabs forcing him into a high guard which blocks his vision so he can’t see the right hand or the big opening Shimell has created by throwing it.

right hand to body

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In this next exchange we see Shimell throw four consecutive jabs at Gassiev in rapid succession. Gassiev varies his defense not allowing Shimell to catch on to any pattern. First Gassiev slips outside Shimell’s jab and counters with a slip jab to the solar plexus. Then Gassiev immediately catches the second jab in his high guard and finally defends the third once again by slipping outside. But this time Gassiev counters with a tight overhand right which misses when Shimell correctly rolls his shoulder back to defend against the counter. Shimell counters with a quick a jab and misses Gassiev’s head which has sunk into the inside slip position which is natural after a hard overhand right.

outside slip counter

A perfect storm has emerged for a ko. Gassiev has seen Shimell’s risky right hand which leaves him vunerable to a left hook. And Shimell knows Gassiev is trying to set him up for a hard overhand right which leaves Gassiev’s head down and to the left if the punch misses vulnerable to a right hand. Each man sets his trap. Shimell baits with a jab then moves. Then throws a second jab and plants. Gassiev throws his overhand right and Shimell once again correctly rolls his shoulder back making Gassiev miss while simultaneously leveraging a right hand. Gassiev’s weight is now squarely on his left foot leveraged for a left hook. They both throw their counters. Shimell’s right hand goes first but he chooses a risky right hand similar to the one he threw before and got away with. It exposes his chin. Gassiev’s left hook hits Shimell’s chin and finishes the fight.



The main takeaway here is shot selection. When choosing punches in practice it is important to weigh the risks and rewards. On the simplest level this is why most fighters are taught to lead with the jab and not a wild right hand. One leaves you on balance and relatively safe while the other totally exposes you and leaves you off balance and reeling if you miss. In boxing it’s best to throw the punches that leave you the safest. But if you choose to throw a risky punch you must properly set it up. In the first sequence Shimell set up his risky right hand correctly by forcing Gassiev into a high guard first. The second time Shimell threw it Gassiev was in the most powerful position to take advantage of the vulnerability by being completely coiled for a left hook. Shimell would’ve been much safer countering with a traditional straight right hand which pops the shoulder up to protect the chin in the second situation.

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