Tony Bellew has made up his mind: he aims to go out in a blaze of glory in a fight that he fully acknowledges will be the toughest of his entire career (barring the light-heavyweight loss he suffered to Adonis Stevenson, back when, in the words of his promoter Eddie Hearn, Bellew was “like a skeleton”).
Speaking with talkSPORT, Bellew said that Hearn has “made calls” regarding making a fight between he and newly crowned undisputed, four-belt cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk, and that if it is up to him, the fight happens next. Bellew was somewhat flattered that Usyk, after beating Murat Gassiev on Saturday night, called him out.
“Personally I want to do the fight, I’d love the fight,” Bellew told talkSPORT on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast. “Usyk is the first man to have all four belts around his waist and the Ring Magazine belt, and the first name out of his mouth is some fat Scouser. I couldn’t believe my name was the first out of his mouth, but when I left the cruiserweight division two years ago I said I was the best in the world, and he obviously believed what I said. He’s defeated all the other cruiserweights and the first name he’s called is mine. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not naïve and I don’t for one minute believe I’m a better boxer than Oleksandr Usyk, but what I can do is I can draw him into mistakes. I don’t care what anybody says, I’m a far bigger puncher than Murat Gassiev, I only need one – I’ve showed that over the last few years. I’m happy. He wants to fight in England, Eddie [Hearn] has already made calls.”
Bellew, who has made a habit of upsetting the odds – three times and counting: versus Illunga Makabu and against David Haye X2 – knows a fight with the gifted Ukrainian would be a punishing, possibly damaging affair.
“If it’s solely down to me, it’s happening. I want to see it happen and I want it before the ed of the year,” Bellew continued. “And if it is Usyk, it’ll be my last fight ever. I say that because I know how damaging the fight is going to be. I’m going to take a lot of stick in that fight. Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to come through it and I’ll get him at some point, but I’ll take a lot of stick and I’ll be losing when I knock him out.”
So, can “Bomber” do what 15 other pro opponents have failed to do, and beat Usyk? Has Usyk even been troubled in a pro fight this far in his quite amazing career? One thing that can also be asked is this: if Bellew does pull it off and upsets Usyk, is he in with a real shot at going into The Hall of Fame one day?