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Usyk not looking past Bellew towards Joshua fight

Aleksandr Usyk Anthony Joshua Tony Bellew

By Scott Gilfoid: Unified cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk (15-0, 11 KOs) refuses to look past his next opponent Tony Bellew (30-2-1, 20 KOs) on November 10 towards a lucrative fight against IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua that is in front of him potentially in 2019.

Usyk’s fight against the 35-year-old Bellew will be taking place at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. Sky Box Office PPV will be televising it in the UK, and it’s expected to be shown on DAZN in the U.S.

The World Boxing Organization will reportedly be making Usyk the mandatory for Joshua once he moves up to heavyweight after his fight with Bellew on November 10.

Usyk, 31, can make life-changing money in a fight against 2012 Olympic gold medalist Joshua, who he well familiar with having watched him in the amateur ranks. Both fighters captured gold medals in the 2012 Olympics, although Usyk’s medal victory was far more conclusive than Joshua’s. Usyk dominated his competition in the 2012 Olympics, whereas Joshua won three controversial victories over Roberto Cammarelle, Erislandy Savon and Ivan Dychko.

“Absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. The fighter is quite well trained, I do not see anything not ordinary,” Usyk said to about Joshua. “It wasn’t a successful plan at the beginning.”

Joshua, 28, obviously isn’t an ordinary fighter, but his recent performances against Wladimir Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin, Carlos Takam and Joseph Parker were far from extraordinary performances from him. When you compare Joshua against the great heavyweight from the past like Muhammad Ali, Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, George Foreman, Mike Tyson, Larry Holmes, Lennox Lewis, Vitali Klitschko, Riddick Bowe, Evander Holyfield and Rocky Marciano, he pales in comparison. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn says that he’s still improving as a fighter and isn’t in his prime yet. I beg to differ. Joshua is as good as he’s ever going to be at 28. He’s the finished product. If Joshua hasn’t developed the boxing skills and talent to dominate at this point in his career, he never will.

As for Usyk’s fight against Bellew on November 10, this is likely going to be a total slaughter. I like Bellew’s rags to riches story, but I don’t think he’s going to do well against a talent like Usyk. It’s nice the way that Hearn has carefully matched Bellew to get him to this point in putting him in against an old and physically broken down David Haye for a couple of fights. Bellew was able to beat Haye at the end of his career. Further, Bellew won the vacant World Boxing Council cruiserweight title in 2016 in beating Illunga Makabu.

All the same, Bellew didn’t beat any good cruiserweights while fighting in the division. He didn’t fight Usyk, Mairis Briedis, Murat Gassiev, Yunier Dorticos, Denis Lebedev and Krzysztof Glowacki. You must applaud Hearn for his careful match-making for Bellew, as the wily promoter didn’t put him in with any of the above mentioned talents. Even after Bellew won the vacant WBC cruiserweight title, Hearn had him swerve around his #1 challenger Briedis, who he was supposed to defend the title against, in order to put him in with a soft opponent BJ Flores, who was rated at #14 by the WBC at the time. When a fighter wins a vacant title, they’re supposed to defend against the #1 challenger in the first defense. Bellew was able to bypass the Briedis fight, which he probably would have lost badly, and face instead the #14 BJ Flores. The match-making by Hearn has been as skilled as you can get from a promoter. With Hearn’s help, Bellew has gotten a lot more mileage out of his career than he otherwise would have if he’d had to take the hard path by taking on the talented cruiserweights and heavyweight. Could you imagine what would have happened if Bellew had faced Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz twice rather than David Haye?

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