July 26, 2018
July 26, 2018
Tony Bellew

Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

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FORMER cruiserweight world champion Tony Bellew is willing to move down from heavyweight to challenge the undisputed 200lbs king Oleksandr Usyk.

Usyk defeated Murat Gassiev on Saturday to win the World Boxing Super Series and the WBO, WBA, IBF and WBC cruiserweight titles. Bellew moved up to heavyweight to beat David Haye twice. He was made WBC champion ‘emeritus,’ which gives him the right to come back and challenge for that belt. The Liverpudlian wants to drop back down in weight and go for all the titles.

“It’s not a goer [yet] because we’ve got to talk money. But I’ve been told to make the fight by Bellew. You’ve got a guy who is the undisputed cruiserweight champion etc. calling out Tony Bellew. It’s brilliant for Bellew. Bellew just said make the fight,” promoter Eddie Hearn told Boxing News. “I’m not sure the money’s that great. We mustn’t get confused with how big is Usyk? To us he’s the man [but] the reason that Bellew made so much money out of the David Haye fight is that they gelled perfectly together for the casual market. 800,000 buys, 700,000 buys, 1.5 million buys over two fights!

“It’s a bit like Brook versus Golovkin. Now you’re talking about 400,000 buys for that fight, I thought it might do 600,000. But who’s Golovkin, back then, to a lot of people. That it is the only danger of a fight with Usyk. And I won’t let Tony take that fight unless making similar money to the Haye fight.”

Hearn reasoned, “He doesn’t need the fight. But he wants it. When I said to him you’ve got to take the fight at 15 stone plus because that’s where you’re at now. You haven’t been at cruiserweight for two years and then he phoned me back the next day and said, ‘No I want it cruiserweight.’ He said if I’m going to put myself at this risk and my body at this risk, I want the money, but I want the glory of being undisputed cruiserweight champion.

“I’ve had to go back and say no it has to be at cruiserweight.”

“If he’s going to beat Usyk, beat him for everything he’s got.”

Tony Bellew

Usyk in the long run must be eyeing a move up to heavyweight himself. “The fight they want is Anthony Joshua, in 18 months, two years’ time. That is what they’re chasing, basically. As everybody is at super-middleweight upwards. I’m saying to them, if you can beat Bellew in the UK, fight Dillian Whyte after that. And then if you beat those guys, everybody’s going to say Joshua must fight you. So there’s your plan. But understand this, even if we work together. Bellew is our guy. I’ve already told them I’m one million percent Tony Bellew. At the moment all I can tell you is I’ve been told to make the fight by Tony Bellew,” Hearn said. “They [Usyk’s side] aren’t going to shy away from the fight, they think it’s going to be easy. Usyk thinks he knocks him out.”

The promoter added, “If Bellew wins this fight, just make sure you give him the credit of being a pound-for-pound great. You’d have to.”