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Oleksandr Usyk vs. Tony Bellew possible for November 10th or 17th

Tony Bellew

By Scott Gilfoid: Tony Bellew and IBF/WBA/WBC/WBO cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk has two possible dates of November 10th and 17, according to Michael Benson. The date for the fight is still being determined at this time. Usyk’s promoters at K2 are working with Bellew’s promoter Eddie Hearn to put the fight together.

The potential dates for the Usyk-Bellew fight could conflict with the far bigger match between WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, which also is being talked taking place on November 10 or November 17. If Hearn makes the mistake of staging the Usyk-Bellew fight on the same night as the Fury vs. Wilder fight, it could result in a ghost town in terms of viewers watching it on Sky Box Office PPV or live at whatever venue the contest is staged at in the UK. Hearn is talking about wanting to stage the Bellew-Usyk fight on November 10 at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.

The 31-year-old Usyk’s four cruiserweight titles will be up for grabs against the 35-year-old Bellew (30-2-1, 20 KOs). The fight is viewed as a mismatch in favor or Usyk, who is the best fighter at cruiserweight. It’s impossible to know where Bellew stands in the placement of the best cruiserweights, because he bailed from the division when the World Boxing Council was on the verge of ordering him to fight his mandatory challenger Mairis Briedis in 2017. At the time, Bellew was the WBC cruiserweight champion after picking up the vacant WBC belt in beating IIlunga Makabu by a 3rd round knockout.

In Bellew’s first defense, he was supposed to defend against #1 WBO Briedis, but instead Hearn was able to set him up with far easier fight against bottom ranked #14 WBO BJ Flores. Bellew had an easy time stopping Flores in the 3rd round in 2016. At that point, Bellew was supposed to finally defend against Briedis, but instead of doing that, he moved up to heavyweight and twice fought David Haye. The WBC wasn’t going to sit around and wait for Bellew to one day defend against Briedis, so they stripped him of his WBC cruiserweight title and gave him the ‘Emeritus champion’ tag, which means he’s allowed to fight for the WBC cruiserweight title anytime he wishes.

“So now I am chasing greatness. I dare to be great, are the words I am going to use,” Bellew said to ”It looks inevitable at this stage.”

Bellew says he plans on retiring after he faces Usyk later this year. Of course, that means absolutely nothing, because if Hearn offers Bellew a wad of cash to fight someone with a name, it’s likely that he’ll come out of his short retirement and take the fight. It’s all so predictable. I don’t know why Bellew even bothers saying he’s going to retire after the Usyk fight because it’s clear that Hearn will lure him back straightaway and throw him in with a name fighter for another payday. It won’t be worth it to put Bellew on DAZN though, because the U.S casual boxing fans have no idea who he is, and they wouldn’t bother subscribing to DAZN for $10 per month just to see him and whoever Hearn matches him against. Even if Hearn was able to setup a fight between Andre Ward and Bellew for DAZN, it’s unlikely to interest American boxing fans in paying $10 to subscribe to the service. Hearn needs to put together fights involving fighters that the American fans have heard of, and Bellew is a complete unknown when you’re talking the casual fans that have scant knowledge about boxing.

It’s thought by many boxing fans that Bellew is just taking the fight against Usyk for the money in what would be a cash out fight. Bellew is badly over-matched on paper against the 2012 Olympic gold medalist Usyk. The only thing that Bellew can hope for is to get lucky to hurt Usyk with one of his big left hooks like he did against Makabu and David Haye. In other words, Bellew only has a puncher’s chance of beating Usyk. However, Usyk took the best shots from the bigger punchers Murat Gassiev and Briedis, so it’s highly unlikely that Bellew will be able to dent his chin. Bellew is out of his league in a major way fighting a guy like Usyk. Heck, Bellew would likely be out of his league if dared to fight the other talented cruiserweights in Gassiev, Briedis, Krzystof Glowacki, Denis Lebedev and Yunier Dorticos. Bellew would have his hands full against any of those guys. Bellew couldn’t count on those fighters coming into his fight with them with a bum Achilles.

Bellew says his fight with Usyk MUST take place in 2018, because he doesn’t plan on being around in 2019, blah, blah, blah. Mark my words, Bellew WILL still be around in 2019, and he’ll be fighting a big name like Andre Ward, Sergey Kovalev or Adonis Stevenson. Bellew says he wanted to wrap up his career in March against former World Boxing Organization heavyweight champion Joseph Parker. However, Bellew’s chances of facing the 26-year-old Parker were dashed after the often-injured Haye suffered an injury, causing the Bellew-Haye rematch to be moved last December to May 5 of this year. Bellew subsequently defeated the shot-looking 37-year-old Haye by a 5th round knockout in what turned out to be a complete mismatch. Bellew believes that if he had faced Parker, he would have unseated him as the WBO heavyweight champion. I think that’s a pipe dream. Parker didn’t look great against Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte, but he would be too big, fast and powerful for the likes of Bellew. Parker’s fights with Joshua and Whyte were filled with controversy though. The referee that worked the Joshua-Parker fight prevented inside fighting, which crippled Parker’s game completely because he was the shorter fighter with the shorter reach. In Parker’s fight against Whyte, the referee Ian John Lewis counted a hard head-beat knockdown as a legitimate knockdown in the 2nd round. Instead of waiving off the bogus knockdown and giving Parker time to recover from the brutal accidental head-butt, Lewis ruled it as a knockdown. Moreover, Whyte got away with a lot of roughhouse tactics against Parker that should have resulted in point deductions. As such, there’s a very good chance that Parker would have beaten both Joshua and Whyte if quality referees were working both of those fights, which took place in the UK.

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