All through the build up to this fight you just got the feeling that we were in for something special. Granted, a more hopeful feeling that Bellew would pull it off, however what a fighter we got to witness in Oleksandr Usyk. When Usyk won the WBSS, he had basically beaten everyone in the division of note. If you were being ultra-picky at that point, you might have conceded that he had not faced Bellew. Well he has now and took him out in comfortable fashion.
Tony ‘Bomber’ Bellew went out in true Bellew style. With a war. But the scary knockout that left him hung over the ropes and his distressing post-fight interview that followed proves he won’t be back. I think everyone knew just what would happen in this fight, despite whether you wanted to believe it or not. Bellew boxed better than anyone thought he could and was undoubtedly in the best physical condition of his career, however it only played into Usyk’s hands as the fight went on, and Bellew was decorated across the canvas by the cruiserweight king in one quick, chilling movement in the eighth round. The concern was immediately seen in promoter and long-time friend Eddie Hearn’s face who instantly sprung to check his condition.
Another was Dave Coldwell, who, having trained him for five years, actually wanted him to hang up the gloves after the first scrap with David Haye. It has been a fun journey with Bellew over the last few years. We have seen him take big risks and be countlessly written off in a journey that has seen him make millions and set him and his kids up for life. It wasn’t, however, pleasant viewing watching him take the inevitable defeat on Saturday night. A prediction that you could have no pleasure in getting right.??But as always, when one door closes, another opens, and that is the exact scenario now with Oleksandr Usyk who will make the inevitable move up to heavyweight. A possible 2020 fight is on cards to face Anthony Joshua should he get it right, but ultimately where can he rank amongst the big hitters in that division? Of course, we have seen some of the best fighters in history make the move from cruiser to heavyweight, including Evander Holyfield, Roy Jones Jr and David Haye. Usyk has proved without a shadow of a doubt that he has the skills. He has probably proved that he has the punch power too. Hugely important.
Dillian Whyte did his usual Dillian Whyte thing and called out Usyk post-fight. He stated: ‘Usyk will struggle at heavyweight. If I fought him, I wouldn't do what Tony Bellew was doing, I'd be charging at him all around the ring. I would maul him all night long. If Usyk wants it, he can have it.’ Said in true Dillian Whyte fashion.
But I don’t think the fight would generate a lot of excitement. A fight between Usyk and Alexander Povetkin, however, would be huge. The thought of that fight just screams violence to me. Usyk has said himself though that he is in no rush to move up to heavyweight, saying that it is ‘too early’ to be talking about Joshua. Whatever happens, we are in for some insane build-ups and fights once he makes the step up.