TONY BELLEW feels his opponent on Saturday night, Mateusz Masternak, is better than most of the current cruiserweight world champions but feels unbeaten contender Aleksandr Usyk is the top dog.
The Liverpudlian faces the former European champion ahead of a potential world title shot and is well aware of the danger the Pole brings.
“Masternak is a very good fighter, it will take the absolute best of me to win this fight but I believe I’ve got that in my locker,” he told Boxing News. We’ve done 12 weeks of absolute hard graft. I’m ready to do whatever in there whether I have to box him or go to war, I’m ready to go to the well.
“A world title fight is the only place to go after this fight. I believe Masternak is better than some of the world champions. He’s probably better than [Denis] Lebedev, he’s definitely better than [Victor] Ramirez. That’s not very hard.”
“I want a world title fight but that’s up to Eddie Hearn to flash the chequebook.
“I’m in a division full of killers, sharks. It’s a deep division and people don’t give the cruiserweight division credit. For me there’s one fighter that stands out and that’s Aleksandr Usyk. Yoan Pablo Hernandez is probably the best on the planet but I don’t include him at the moment because he’s semi-retired due to injury.
“Number one is Usyk and then we’re all at the same level, besides Ramirez.”
Having previously operated at light-heavyweight, Bellew feels cruiser is his natural division and insists the best is yet to come.
“I don’t know if it’ll turn into a shootout because I think once I hit him with a good shot he’ll back off. I’ve got one-punch power,” he mused.
“He does have a dangerous right hand but I don’t think he has concussive power. Just look at everyone I’ve fought – every single person I hit clean, I hurt.
“At this weight I’ve got a lot more strings to my bow, I don’t envisage myself tiring. I just hope it doesn’t turn into a chess match, I’d win easily, but ultimately I think it’ll be a chess match early, he’ll realise he’s losing and try to put it on me and when he does I think he’ll go down.
“I just know so much more about this business and this world I’m in now that it allows me to focus on what I need to focus on. I’m not a naïve young lad anymore with a f****** crazy attitude wanting to have a fight with everyone. I’m level-headed, I know how good I am and what I can do. I know who I can beat and how I can beat them.”