Hearn reveals Oleksandr Usyk vs. Tony Bellew planned for Nov.10
By Scott Gilfoid: Promoter Eddie Hearn says he’s negotiating a fight between Tony Bellew and cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk for November 10 in the UK. Hearn isn’t quite sure where the fight will be staged in the UK, but he’s looking at London, Manchester or Liverpool as the possible venues. Hearn says the Usyk vs. Bellew fight will likely be televised on Sky Sports Boxing Office pay-per-view. He’s not sure at this time whether it’ll be streamed on DAZN in the States.
Hearn does not seem excited about the prospects of putting the 35-year-old Bellew (30-2-1, 20 KOs) in with Usyk (15-0, 11 KOs), who recently defeated IBF/WBA cruiserweight champion Murat Gassiev by a 12 round unanimous decision in the World Boxing Super Series tournament final on July 21 in Moscow, Russia. Usyk, 31, made a very good fighter in 24-year-old Gassiev look like a rank amateur by out-boxing him over 12 rounds. Gassiev, 6’3”, would likely be favored to defeat Bellew if the two of them were to fight, as would other cruiserweights Mairis Briedis and Yunier Dorticos. Bellew jumping to the head of the class to face Usyk is a move that most fans feel is a disaster waiting to happen for the Liverpool native.
“We’re doing it in London. We’re looking at November the 10th in Manchester or Liverpool, somewhere around there,” Hearn said to Tha Boxing Voice. “At the moment, Usyk tells me he wants the fight. I know Bellew wants the fight. He [Usyk] just won it. There’s no mandatories due,” Hearn said about the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO sanctioning bodies at cruiserweight.
While still inside the ring after his impressive win over knockout artist Gassiev, Usyk called out Bellew. It was a surprise to a lot of people to hear Usyk call out Bellew, because it would have made a lot more sense for him to use his time in the spotlight to call out WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder or IBF/WBA/WBO champion Anthony Joshua. Usyk, 6’3”, isn’t quite ready to move up to heavyweight to take on the big dogs in the division. The World Boxing Organization are already making Usyk their mandatory challenger to Joshua at heavyweight without him ever fighting in the division. Like fellow countryman Vasyl Lomachenko, 2012 Olympic gold medalist Usyk doesn’t want to rush into his new weight class and take on the best right away. He wants to slowly build his way up to fighting the best at heavyweight.
“They would be very pleased with that fight as well,” Hearn said about the sanctioning bodies likely being happy about Usyk choosing to defend his IBF/WBA/WBC/WBO cruiserweight titles against Bellew. ”To be confirmed,” Hearn said when asked whether the Bellew vs. Usyk fight will be streamed on DAZN. “More than likely on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK. This will be Tony Bellew’s last fight. I’ll make sure. He’s going for absolute glory in this fight, and he can do it. If he does, he’s going down as a pound-for-pound great,” Hearn said.
Bellew has gained a lot of confidence from his 2 recent wins over David Haye, and his victories before that against BJ Flores and Illunga Makabu. However, there’s a big difference between those limited fighters and Usyk, who can actually fight and he’s not old, injured and over-the-hill. Bellew is likely going to find out the hard way that you don’t prepare to face the best by facing weak opposition. If Bellew wanted to prepare for the Usyk fight, then he should have fought Dorticos, Gassiev, and Briedis. Bellew has done the opposite way. He beat bottom ranked BJ Flores, Makabu and Haye. Makabu is a good puncher, but he’s not in the same league as the talented cruiserweights like Usyk, Dorticos, Briedis, Denis Lebedev, Maxim Vlasoev, Krzystof Glowacki and Beibut Shumenov.
“That is the long-term goal for Usyk to fight Anthony Joshua, as is for many people,” Hearn said. ”I don’t like the Tony Bellew fight. Tony Bellew I carving out a very good career for himself. He’s made a lot of money. The Usyk vs. Bellew fight, because I know how Bellew will fight, but he wants it. When Usyk called Bellew out after the World Boxing Super Series, he phoned me within 10 seconds and said, ‘Get me Usyk.’ I said, ‘We can make it at heavyweight.’ ‘I want all those belts,’ [Bellew said].Bellew wants to be the undisputed champion. He wants the Ring Magazine belt. He’s going back down [to cruiserweight]. He’s got to lose 10, 12 or 13 pounds. It requires work. He said, ‘What is the value of fighting Usyk at heavyweight for nothing? Yeah, the money. I don’t want the money. I want legacy. I want the belts. I want the money and the belts.’”
Bellew vs. Usyk fight will interest a lot of boxing fans even though it’s a terrible mismatch. A lot of fans will wind up purchasing it just to see Bellew lose. He’ll end up winning though due to the huge amount of money the fight pulls in on Sky Box Office. Bellew can then retire from boxing with his golden parachute from the money he makes from the Usyk fight. Bellew has a puncher’s chance of beating Usyk. Unless Bellew lands the perfect shot to KO Usyk, he’s going to lose the fight in what promises to be a massacre. That’s why it would have been better for Bellew to earn the shot against Usyk by proving he can beat the likes of Gassiev, Brieids or Dorticos. The problem is, Bellew would likely lose to all of those guys, so none of those fights would ever get made. Bellew never fought any of those guys when he was campaigning as a cruiserweight. After Bellew won the World Boxing Council cruiserweight title in 2016, he was supposed to defend it against Briedis, who was his number one ranked contender at the time, but Hearn instead matched him against #14 BJ Flores. After that fight, Bellew moved up to heavyweight and twice beat an old David Haye. The WBC wasn’t going to wait around for Bellew to eventually move back down to cruiserweight title defends his title against Briedis, so they stripped him. It’s a good thing the WBC did strip Bellew, because Briedis would have been waiting a long, long time for his title shot.