Hearn wants Usyk to face Bellew, then Dillian Whyte
By Scott Gilfoid: Eddie Hearn says if undisputed cruiserweight champion Aleksandr Usyk wants to challenge heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua for his world titles, then he’ll need to go through his Matchroom stable fighters Tony Bellew in November followed by Dillian Whyte after that before he can eventually share the ring with AJ. In other words, Usyk will need to run the Matchroom gauntlet before he can get inside the ring with Joshua. Interestingly enough, Hearn feels that the unbeaten Usyk (15-0, 11 KOs) won’t make it past the 35-year-old Bellew (30-2-1, 20 KOs) when/if they face each other in November in the UK.
Hearn says that if Usyk wants the fight with former World Boxing Council cruiserweight champion Bellew, it’ll need to take place in the UK. Hearn still isn’t certain that he can make the Bellew-Usyk fight though. It will depend on whether the fight makes business sense for Bellew, who he says might need to take a big pay cut from his last fight against David Haye on May 5.
”I think if Usyk is serious about wanting to go up to heavyweight, you look at us, what we got,” Hearn said to IFL TV. ”He wants to fight Anthony Joshua. That’s the feeling we got from their camp. Not now, but when he’s in his prime at heavyweight. So if he thinks he can beat Tony Bellew, then he can fight Dillian Whyte after. He can fight Joshua if he beats him,” Hearn said.
The idea that Hearn has of Usyk earning a fight against Joshua by defeating two of his Matchroom Sport fighters Bellew and Whyte would be a reasonably good idea if things work well for Dillian against Joseph Parker on Saturday night, but there’s a good chance that he loses to him. As such, there’s no gain for Usyk to fight Whyte after he gets beaten by Parker. Hearn might need to use his recent signee Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller as the obstacle for Usyk to defeat in order to get the fight against Joshua.
It’s interesting that Hearn seems to be in a real rush to put Usyk in with Dillian Whyte after his fight against Bellew at cruiserweight. Instead of Usyk being able to take his time acclimating to the heavyweight division, Hearn wants to rush him into a fight with Whyte straightaway after he likely beats the brakes off Bellew. I hate to say it, but I think Hearn will regret it if he lets Usyk fight Bellew and Whyte back to back. Usyk will beat the both of them and hurt their value for Hearn’s Matchroom boxing stable. I seriously doubt that Hearn will allow Usyk anywhere near Joshua if he beats Whyte and Bellew.
“Usyk has just arguably become pound-for-pound number one, and the first name that comes out of his mouth is Tony Bellw,” Hearn said to IFL TV. “It’s unbelievable for Bellew. Unfortunately, Tony Bellew is taking the bait. He phoned me up straightaway and said, ‘Make that fight.’ I said, ‘make it at 15 stone, right? You haven’t made cruiserweight for two years. You look really good at 15 stone. ‘No, no, you think I’m not fighting him for all the belts and Ring belts and the undisputed cruiserweight championship of the world. If I’m going to risk everything, I want all the rewards.’ So sicker than that, Bellew said, ‘Make it at cruiserweight.’ What happens if Bellew chins Usyk and becomes #1 pound-for-pound in boxing?”
The reason why Usyk wants to fight Bellew is because a fight against him offers him more money potentially than he can make fighting the top cruiserweights and heavyweight contenders. Until Usyk gets a fight against Anthony Joshua, the biggest money fight he can make is fighting Bellew. That’s obviously the only reason why he wants to fight Bellew. There’s no other reason why Usyk would want to fight him, because Bellew is clearly not in the same league as top cruiserweights like Mairis Briedis, Murat Gassie and Yunier Dorticos. Bellew would likely lose to all of those fighters by knockout. When Bellew did fight at cruiserweight, he didn’t fight any of those guys. Briedis kept waiting for hi chance to fight Bellew, but he left the weight class without fighting him and instead moved up to heavyweight to face the injured and old David Haye on two occasions.
“I’ve spoken to Egis Klimis and Alex from K2,” Hearn said. “They’re very interested in the fight. It all comes down to money. November,” Hearn said when he wants to make the Bellew vs. Usyk fight. ”Usyk is a hardcore boxing legend. If you walk around Westfield and say, ‘Have you heard of Aleksandr Usyk?’ What do you think people are going to say? The truth is he’s an unreal fighter. It’s for the undisputed cruiserweight championship of the world for all he belts, Ring Magazine belt, everything. So, it’s not going to do the buys of the David Haye fight, but it’s one of the biggest fights that can be made. My instructions from my client are to make the fight. It’s my job to try and make it. I can present him a deal. Don’t get me wrong; if Usyk wants mental money, I’ll have to go back to Bellew and say, ‘You’re going to make one-third of what you made fighting David Haye.’ He might not take it. But he wants the fight if the deal’s right. But you’re not talking about a guy that makes $4 to 5 million for his last fight. ”I might do,” Hearn said when asked if he might sign Usyk to his Matchroom Boxing stable.
It sounds like it might be a problem for the Bellew vs. Usyk fight to get made. Usyk is going to want a fair deal when it comes to the negotiations for the fight. If it’s going to get made for November like Hearn says, it might require a percentage deal. I don’t think Usyk is going to agree to a flat fee deal. Usyk obviously isn’t a PPV fighter, but he’ll help bring in a lot of PPV buys in the UK due to his popularity in Europe. Without Usyk, Bellew would likely bring in very few buys fighting the likes of Adonis Stevenson or Andre Ward. Those are two of the names that Bellew is interested in. The other fighter that Bellew wants, besides Usyk, is former heavyweight champion Tony Bellew. Fury isn’t going to be available for at least a year, possibly two. Bellew can’t sit and wait for Fury to finally face him.
”I’ve made it very clear to him my priority is Tony Bellew, and Bellew has told me, ‘I want the fight and I want it at cruiserweight. Get me Usyk. I’m going to knock him out.’ That’s what Bellew told me, and I fancy him to do it. Call me made but honestly,” Hearn said.
Hearn wants Bellew to take the fight with Usyk at heavyweight because he wouldn’t have to drain down to 200 pounds to make weight. Bellew weighed in at 213 pounds for his rematch against David Haye on May 5, and he looked kind of flabby at that weight. For Bellew to have a chance of beating the 31-year-old Usyk, he’s going to need to be a little lighter anyway, because he’s not going to defeat him if he’s a flabby at 213 lbs. If Bellew is going to have any kind of chance at beating Usyk, he’ll need to get down to at least 208 pounds. Bellew will have no problems making the 200-pound cruiserweight limit if he’s that low.