Tony Bellew v Oleksandr Usyk – Fight Preview

By Sam Stone

Saturday night will see Tony Bellew walk out for the last time, in front of 21,000 fans at the Manchester Arena, in what will be his toughest cruiserweight test to date.

The undisputed cruiserweight juggernaut Oleksandr Usyk is the acid test, which stands between Bellew and one last upset. The Merseysider has overcome fights against the odds before. Usyk, however, is another step up in quality.

The Ukranian trains alongside lightweight star Vasyl Lomachenko, seen by many as the best pound for pound fighter. Usyk’s been described by heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua described Usyk as “the perfect boxer”. Usyk’s previous bout was against Russian power puncher Murat Gassiev, on that night in the Olympic Stadium in Moscow, the Ukranian’s persistent jab, smart footwork accompanied with a sharp offence and brilliant defensive ability saw the highly anticipated battle, turn into target practice for Usyk in the later rounds.

The Ukranian also has the capability to produce a stoppage, with 11 of his 15 wins coming by way of knockout. Physically the undisputed champion also has the edge over Bellew. Usyk has a four-inch reach over Bellew, which could mean his jab could be the key weapon on Saturday night.

This points to a tough night ahead for the Evertonian, however, Bellew has been an underdog for many fights in his career. His 2016 bout against Ilunga Makabu (stepping in a short notice and producing a ferocious knockout) and his two battles with David Haye, Bellew went in as an underdog.

Edited by Harry Trend

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