Former world cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew has told William Hill’s new podcast Up Front that he would fancy Oleksandr Usyk to beat Tyson Fury if the two heavyweights take each other on later this year.
Speaking on William Hill’s Up Front, a brand new podcast hosted by Simon Jordan in which the former Crystal Palace owner speaks to sports stars and celebrities and challenges their opinions whilst scrutinising their careers, Bellew said: “I think he [Tyson Fury] is easier to beat now, only for a couple of fighters, but bear in mind one of those is Oleksandr Usyk.
“Make no mistake, Tyson Fury is the best heavyweight in the world right now, but I do now think he is more susceptible to lose to Oleksandr Usyk [if they were to fight later this year].
“He does everyone mentally; he breaks them mentally first. But the one person he will not break and will never break is Usyk.
“Tyson Fury’s style went from a style where he was awkward, slippery, big and quick to now being an aggressive, front-footed, counter-punching heavy hitter and the second one plays into Oleksandr Usyk’s hands.
“The Tyson Fury that defeated Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 is an impossible guy to beat, he’s six foot eight or nine, he’s 20 stone, he’s moving like a light-heavyweight and he’s got really fast hands. He’s making you miss and he’s causing you problems. That’s impossible to deal with.”
Joshua had more chance of beating Fury a few years ago than he does today
Jordan also quizzed Bellew on British heavyweight Anthony Joshua, who has been a potential opponent of Fury’s for years, and while the former WBC cruiserweight champion thinks a fight between the two would be fantastic, he believes Fury would be a strong favourite.
“I think for Fury against Anthony Joshua, it would be harder for Joshua to beat this current version of Fury than it would be the old version,” Bellew said. “Because Joshua would have got close, and he would’ve been allowed to punch. Now Joshua is not going to get the luxury of getting close without getting nailed hard on the way in.”
In light of both fighters having defeated Wladimir Klitschko, Jordan added: “A fit and focused Klitschko would have beaten AJ, a younger Klitschko that didn’t gas. When he had Anthony Joshua knocked down, a fitter, more energised or a younger Klitschko would have jumped all over him and not given him a chance.”
David Haye would have beaten Fury if their fight went ahead
Bellew also touched on former rival David Haye, who he beat twice during his career, and claimed that he would have been too much for Fury if they had fought when they were first scheduled to in 2013.
Bellew said: “David Haye was probably the brightest prospect in world boxing in 2004 and 2005, he was unbelievable. I’m convinced if David Haye had fought Tyson Fury when that fight first got announced, he would have won.
“Haye would never have a chance now, the Fury of today and the Fury that beat Wladimir Klitschko would beat anyone.
“Tyson Fury tied David Haye up in knots with his words but physically Fury was so undeveloped at that stage. Steve Cunningham nearly beat Fury and David Haye was twice the puncher and twice the fighter that Steve Cunningham ever was.
“If David Haye hurts you or drops you, you’re done. He is probably one of the best finishers this country has ever seen, he’s that prolific. The only finisher I have ever seen better than David Haye is Nigel Benn. When he gets you hurt, he takes you out.”