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Tony Bellew wants Usyk fight if he wins WBSS

Tony Bellew

By Scott Gilfoid: Tony Bellew reportedly plans on using his WBC ‘emeritus champion’ status to try and get a title shot against WBC/WBO cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk (14-0, 11 KOs) if he wins the World Boxing Super Series [WBSS] tournament on May 11 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

According to the BBC, Bellew wants to fight Usyk if he wins the WBSS tournament. That may not happen, of course. Usyk will need to fight the winner of this Saturday’s fight between Murat Gassiev and Yunier Dorticos. That’s not going to be easy for Usyk to beat either of those fighters. But if Usyk does win the fight, he says he wants to move up to cruiserweight. If Bellew wants to fight Usyk at heavyweight, the option might be there. It’ll depend though.

If Bellew gets trounced by David Haye in their rematch on May 5th, that’ll pretty end his pipe dream of fighting Usyk. The 2012 Olympic gold medalist Usyk isn’t going to want David Haye’s leftovers at that point. Why fight Bellew after he’s been knocked out by Haye? There’s no upside for Usyk in taking that fight with Bellew. Instead, Usyk will probably target Haye so that he can try and get a good scalp to add to his collection. A win over Haye will get Usyk pushed up high in the heavyweight rankings, close enough for him to get a title shot against IBF/WBA champion Anthony Joshua if he’s still champion by then.

Bellew (29-2-1, 19 KOs) held the WBC cruiserweight title from May 29, 2016 to March 29, 2017. Bellew had his championship status changed by the World Boxing Council to that of the WBC ‘emeritus champion’ after he chose to fight David Haye at heavyweight rather than stay at cruiserweight and defend against the winner of the Maris Briedis vs. Marco Huck fight, which took place on April 1 of last year.

The WBC gave Bellew a huge break by not forcing him to defend against #1 WBC Briedis after Bellew captured the vacant WBC cruiserweight title in May 2016 in beating Illunga Makabu by a 3rd round knockout in Liverpool, England. Since Bellew won the vacant WBC title, he was supposed to defend the belt against the No1. contender with the WBC, which at the time was Briedis. But instead, Bellew swerved Briedis and took an easy voluntary defense against #14 WBC fringe contender BJ Flores in October 2016.

Bellew stopped the bottom ranked Flores in the 3rd round. At the time the excuse for swerving Briedis was he didn’t bring anything to the table because he wasn’t a well-known fighter. Flores wasn’t well-known either. He was seen as a friend of David Haye, but he wasn’t highly by the casual boxing fans in the UK. Bellew choosing not to fight Briedis looked like a ducking move on his part at the time. But in choosing not to fight Briedis, Bellew likely saved himself from being knocked out, because the Latvian is clearly a much better fighter.

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