The PBC traveling road show lays anchor at the Black Bear Casino Resort Hotel in Carlton, Minnesota, outside Duluth, on May 17 for another edition of “Toe to Toe Tuesdays” on Fox Sports 1. The main event is a 12-round contest between cruiserweights Murat Gassiev (22-0, 16 KOs) and Jordan Shimmell (20-1, 16 KOs). The bout is framed as an IBF title eliminator. The prize for the victor is a match with the winner of the upcoming fight between the defending IBF World 200-pound champion, Argentina’s Victor Ramirez, and challenger Denis Lebedev.
The 22-year-old Gassiev, from Vladikavkaz, Russia, has actually had 22 pro fights. His most recent match with Isiah Thomas went into the books as a no-contest. Gassiev decked Thomas with a punch that landed after the bell ending the third round and Thomas wasn’t able to continue. Because the fight hadn’t gone four rounds, the alternatives were a disqualification or a no-contest. The officials chose the latter, effectively expunging the match from the ledgers of both men.
Gassiev has yet to defeat a ranked opponent, but he’s had top-notch sparring, working with such notables as Wladimir Klitschko and Deontay Wilder. At Abel Sanchez’s gym in Big Bear, California, his teammates included Gennady Golovkin.
Shimmell resides in Hudsonville, Michigan and trains in Grand Rapids. Most of wins have come against faded journeymen. However, he had a strong amateur career, winning a national Golden Gloves title. In his lone defeat at the professional level, he was outpointed over 10 rounds by the aforementioned Isiah Thomas.
The semi-windup is a 10-round heavyweight affair between Oklahoma’s Wes Nofire (19-0, 15 KOs) and Minnesota’s Joey Abell (31-9, 29 KOs). Abell, a 34-year-old southpaw, has a soft beard, but this is yet a step up in class for the 6’6,” 30-year old Nofire whose nickname is “The Cherokee Warrior.” It will be suprising if this bout goes the distance.
The full card consists of eight bouts. Three fighters with identical 9-0 records will be showcased on the undercard: welterweight Ramiro Carrillo, super lightweight Jose Quezada, and featherweight Leduan Barthelemy. The TV portion of the show airs at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT.