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Oleksander Usyk KOs Tony Bellew

Alexander Usyk, Tony Bellew boxing photo and news image

By Scott Gilfoid: Cruiserweight champion Oleksander Usyk rallied from behind in the 8th to knockout Tony Bellew (30-3-1, 20 KOs) with a sick KO that left him flat on his back looking badly hurt on Saturday night at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.

Usyk rammed two left hands down Bellew’s throat to KO him in the 8th. There would be no getting up for Usyk. As hurt as Bellew was, the referee Terry O’Connor could have counted to 100, and he still wouldn’t have gotten up from the knockdown.

Things were looking bleak for Usyk (16-0, 12 KOs) going into the second half of the fight tonight, but when stepped up his game and started sitting down on his shots, he quickly knocked Bellew out in the 8th.

The turning point in the fight came at the end of the 5th round when Bellew hit Usyk with a right hand and then stared at him at him in a menacing, taunting way. For the first time in the fight, Usyk looked angry as he looked back at Bellew and then turned around and walked back to his corner. From that point on, it was a different Usyk. He came out for the 6th round with a vengeance, hitting Bellew with sweeping left hands and right hooks. Usyk backed Bellew up against the ropes and jammed a left hand down his throat like he was feeding him. Bellew lost his nerve completely after that, and he stayed against the ropes the remainder of the fight. Bellew realized that he’d stepped in it by taunting Usyk, and that he was no longer going to have anymore moments in the fight. Bellew should have been humble and not taunted Usyk. When you awaken a sleeping giant, bad things happen.

From the 6th round on, it was one big rout with Usyk hitting a tired, and timid looking Bellew with lefts, rights and keeping him trapped against the ropes. When Bellew did try and get off the ropes, Usyk would nail him with shots that put him back in his place.

Bellew had nothing but love for Usyk after the fight, calling him the greatest fighter he’d ever faced, forgetting completely about how Adonis Stevenson did a far better job of beating him five years ago in knocking him out in six rounds in a one-sided fight from start to finish.

“He’s an exceptional fighter and he deserves all the awards in the world,” Bellew said about Usyk. “I have no excuses. He’s an amazing fighter. He’s the best I’ve ever shared the ring with.”

You can’t say that Usyk is the best that Bellew has ever fought based on his performance tonight. Usyk is at least the second best. Stevenson is clearly the best opponent Bellew has ever fought, as he didn’t give up rounds the way that Usyk did tonight. Stevenson wasn’t afraid to let his hand go though, and he had better hand speed and power than what we saw from Usyk tonight. It didn’t matter that Usyk is a heavier fighter than Stevenson was in 2013. Stevenson was still more powerful and faster.

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