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Bellew: If I land my left hook on Usyk, it will have an effect

Tony Bellew

By Scott Gilfoid: Tony Bellew says he’s going to immediately call out WBC/WBO cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk (14-0, 11 KOs) if/when he wins the World Boxing Super Series [WBSS] tournament on May 11th in his fight against IBF cruiserweight champion Murat Gassiev (26-0, 19 KOs). Bellew says if he lands his left hook on Usyk, it’ll have some kind of an effect.

Bellew isn’t saying what his punch will do to Usyk, but you must assume that he believed he’ll knock him out. It sounds like Bellew is trying to ride the coattails of Usyk’s popularity, so he can keep his own name in the news. Bellew is fighting David Haye in a rematch on May 5th in a fight that few boxing fans outside of the UK care about. It’s 2 old timers fighting it out in a fight with no real relevance. It would be nice to see Bellew prove himself worthy of a fight against Usyk rather than him looking to use his emeritus status to get an undeserved title shot against the Ukrainian fighter. How about Bellew first fight and beat Yunier Dorticos in order to earn a title shot against Usyk. Is that asking too much of Bellew? He just needs to prove that he can beat Dorticos, and then he can calling out Usyk.

Usyk took former WBC cruiserweight champion Mairis Briedis’ hard punches for 12 rounds in their fight on January 27th, and he beat him by a 12 round majority decision. Usyk was never hurt by Briedis in that fight. Briedis would seem to have more power than Bellew, and he wasn’t able to buzz Usyk at any time in the fight. You can argue that by Bellew saying he’s going to demand a title shot against Usyk, he’s just trying to make sure he can get another payday after his May 5th rematch with David Haye. After that fight, Bellew’s options for big money fights will be limited. He’s said that he doesn’t want to fight Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder and Dillian Whyte.

Bellew, 34, is the WBC emeritus cruiserweight champion, and he has the ability to call for and get an immediate world title shot against the current WBC champion if he so chooses. Bellew says he doesn’t want to call for a title shot against Usyk now, because he’s scheduled to face Gassiev on May 11th in the finals of the WBSS tournament in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. But once that fight is done, Bellew says he’s going to be calling out the 31-year-old Usyk. In other words, Bellew is confident that Usyk will defeat the 24-year-old unbeaten Gassiev. Bellew isn’t saying he wants to fight Gassiev for some reason, because there is a chance that he’ll beat Usyk. Whether Bellew wants to admit it or not, Usyk could wind up getting knocked out by the big punching Gassiev if he lands one of his huge left hooks like he did in his semifinals match against WBA cruiserweight champion Yunier ‘The KO Doctor’ Dorticos last Saturday night in Adler, Russia.

“Emeritus champion, which allows me to call upon Mr. Oleksandr Usyk,” Bellew said to IFL TV. ”I’ll wait for the WBSS [World Boxing Super Series] is over, and then I’ll be calling that name…Yes, I’ll go in with Oleksandr Usyk, and yes, I may be getting punched all over the place for 5 or 6 rounds, but understand, I will land, and that left hook will have an effect. If it can have an effect on heavyweights, it can have an effect on cruiserweights too,” Bellew said.

Usyk is expected to vacate all 4 of the cruiserweight titles if he beats Gassiev on May 11th. Usyk wants to move up to the heavyweight division to fight Anthony Joshua. If Bellew ends up trying to use his emeritus status to force a title shot against the WBC cruiserweight champion, he may find himself having to scrap against #1 WBC challenger Krzystof Glowacki (28-1, 18 KOs) for the vacant WBC title instead of against Usyk. Glowacki hits hard and he could knockout Bellew just as he did Marco Huck in their fight in August 2015. It’s questionable whether Bellew would ever agree to fight the 31-year-old Glowacki for the vacant WBC cruiserweight title, because there’s not a lot of money in that fight. Bellew seems to be focused on wanting to fight guys that are popular, which is why he’s interested in fighting Usyk.

”I will take on anybody. I don’t fear anybody at cruiserweight, Oleksandr included,” Bellew said. ”As great a fighter as he is. I’m not saying I’m a better boxer than Oleksander Usyk. I’m just saying styles make fights, and if I get it tactically right, yes, I can beat him,” Bellew said.

Well, if Bellew is willing to take on anybody at cruiserweight, then he should agree to fight Gassiev if he wins the WBSS tournament. Bellew should be willing to fight Yunier Dorticos now, because he gave a good account of himself last Saturday before getting stopped in the 12th round by Gassiev.

Bellew went on to say that he always knew that he was going to beat 37-year-old David Haye when he fought him last March in London, England. Bellew feels that he won the fight due to his styles, not because Haye suffered a bad Achilles injury and was forced to limp around the ring from round 6 on. Bellew is kidding himself in believing that he beat Haye due to his style being suited. Bellew was losing the fight to Haye until he suffered an Achilles injury. It was only after the injury occurred to Haye that Bellew was able to come on to take over the fight.

Usyk will have better things to do than to waste his time fighting Bellew after the WBSS tournament is over. Bellew had his chance to fight Briedis when he was the WBC cruiserweight champion, but instead he dodged the fight twice by fighting BJ Flores and David Haye. It was clear as day that Bellew dodged Briedis and wanted nothing to do with him. Now that there’s a popular fighter holding the WBC title in Usyk, Bellew is suddenly interest in facing him. It looks to me like Bellew is just trying to get a payday against Usyk, and to ride his coattails due to him being the popular guy in the cruiserweight division today.


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