Write Tony Bellew off at your peril, something that is synonymous with British boxing today; but is taking on the cold-hearted, Ukrainian stud one step too far? We are about to find out tomorrow, when Tony Bellew faces in his words, the toughest test to date – the undisputed, 4 belt holder Oleksandar Usyk who no one is currently cueing up to fight.
We all have witnessed Tony Bellew’s astronomical rise, but what about Oleksandr Usyk? who the hell is he? you might be asking. Look no further, as I am about to explain why this man is currently viewed as one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world.
A perfect career so far…
Usyk is a highly decorated amateur, who won a gold medal at the Baku world championships. In just the following year, he won a gold medal at the London Olympics. This lustrous amateur career set the foundations for what was to come.
He then entered the World Series of Boxing with Ukraine, which is said to be the closest step towards professional boxing, as head guards were removed and the rounds were increased to 5. Usyk dominated all his opponents, which included one of our own Lion hearts, Joe Joyce, who struggled to get to grips with Usyk’s dazzling footwork and mesmerising hand speed for a heavyweight. The Ukrainian then decided to embark on his professional career and in only his 10th fight took on Krzysztof Glowacki to win the WBO Cruiserweight world title.
Usyk, 2 fights later, attempted the unthinkable, as he entered into the World Boxing Super Series, where if he won the final, would be the only boxer in history to attain all 4 belts in just 15 fights. July the 21st, 2018 the unthinkable was now imagined; Oleksandr Usyk easily outpointed Murat Gassiev to win all the belts (IBF, WBO, WBC and WBA). This was the coming out party for Oleksandr Usyk, as he not only made history but made history with unfathomable domination.
You may now be thinking what chance does Tony Bellew have? The question which every pundit or fan seems to ask when the Bomber steps into the ring. Tony is not a man to be written off. Look no further than Tony’s last 2 fights with David Haye.
Every time I picked up my phone, I would see the same underlying opinion, ‘David was injured in the first fight, this time round he will be too strong’… but o’ boy how we were all so wrong. Bellew blitzed the returning David Haye in clinical fashion, ending Haye’s career once and for all.
What did we learn from this and why does this have any meaning when facing one of the toughest opponents you could possibly pick? It’s because Bellew thrives on being called an ‘underdog’ or an ‘easy fight’. This is what summons that extraordinary heart, guile and the underrated boxing skills that this proud man possesses. Ultimately, Tony Bellew has a chance, a chance that Usyk might overlook him, a chance that he could catch Usyk cold with that famous left hook.
What I have learnt from watching the Bomber’s career unfold is that he always has a chance when stepping through the ropes. So, instead of being a pessimist, lets believe the Liverpudlian can do it, he has a hell of a task in front of him. But do not doubt a man with the characteristics of Tony Bellew, and never doubt the unpredictability within the squared circle.
C’MON THE BOMBER!