September 24, 2018
September 24, 2018
Tony Bellew vs Oleksandr Usyk

Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

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AFTER going head-to-head in the ring at Wembley stadium ahead of Anthony Joshua’s fight with Alexander Povetkin, Tony Bellew and Oleksandr Usyk hit Manchester for their first press conference in the build up to their cruiserweight clash on November 10.

Bellew will challenge for the Ukrainian for the undisputed cruiserweight crown at the Manchester Arena. Usyk unified the WBO, IBF, WBA and WBC world titles when he soundly outpointed Murat Gassiev in Moscow to win the World Boxing Super Series final.

“I’m sure it won’t be an easy fight, an easy challenger for me,” Usyk said. “I’m just thinking about my training camp and how I shall overcome all the challenges ahead.

“I tell you why I chose Tony Bellew, because he is the man who takes the biggest challenges… This is a fight the world will want to see.”

Bellew himself is a former champion. He beat Ilunga Makabu to win the WBC title in Liverpool and was made their ‘champion emeritus’ when he moved up to heavyweight. Bellew has beaten David Haye twice but now must shed weight once again to return to cruiser.

“As soon as he said my name I knew [I wanted the fight]. The more you write me off, the more I want to fight. I’m going up against the monster,” Bellew said. “Make no mistake he’s looking past me already.

“For the first time in his whole career he sees a man looking back at him who believes he can win.

“I have the one thing he doesn’t have and that’s a punch that can switch the lights off in the blink of an eye.”

Tony Bellew

This is likely to be Bellew’s final as he hopes to finish his glittering career as undisputed king. “I promise you,” he said, “this is, maybe, the last one.”

Usyk ambitions extend beyond the cruiserweight division. An observer of Anthony Joshua’s latest fight, he will want to defend his titles and then move up to heavyweight. A gold medallist at London 2012, like Joshua, Usyk said, “I’m really glad to come back to the UK, the country that gave me the chance to win trophies that mean a lot in my life.”