UK fight fans may have been taking in some of Tony Bellew’s appearance on popular TV show “I’m a Celebrity……” The former WBC cruiserweight champ has certainly added some fun to the show, and some controversy by way of some X-rated language. But Bellew was serious when he spoke about the fight that ended his ring career, and almost, “Bomber” said, his life.
Fans may recall the nasty left hook to the chin Oleksandr Usyk dropped Bellew with in the 8th round of their world title fight back in 2018. Bellew, sent down hard and heavy, somehow got back up, but referee Terry O’Connor had seen enough and he stopped the fight. This call by the third man, Bellew said on the reality show, “literally saved my life.”
“Obviously he’s [Usyk] amazing,” Bellew said when asked about Usyk and how good he is. “I’ve fought stronger people, I’ve fought quicker people, but I’ve never fought someone like him who has got everything. He works you out. He downloads what you do. He’s downloading all the date in front of him. It takes him three rounds to do it. With me, it took him eight. And then he does it, he pulls the trigger. But I was exhausted. I remember everything until round seven. I don’t remember round eight. He didn’t knock me clean out…..I get up at six, than God the referee didn’t let me [go on] because he’d have killed me. The referee literally saved my life. Next shot probably puts me away for good.”
Usyk, who some say ranks as the greatest cruiserweight ever, hasn’t carried his punching power up with him to the heavyweight division yet he is a real force at heavyweight also. It’s actually good news for Tyson Fury and any other heavyweight that Usyk’s power didn’t make the trip up from the 200 pound division with him. Still, Bellew does feel Usyk defeats Fury when they fight, this supposedly in February (with plenty of fans having an ‘I’ll believe it when they’re both in the ring’ attitude).
We know we are watching a special talent when Usyk fights, and Bellew just might have faced the absolute peak version of Usyk the cruiserweight. It really is fascinating to dream about what would have happened if Usyk had faced cruiserweight greats such as Evander Holyfield, Dwight Muhammad Qawi, Carlos De Leon, Vassiliy Jirov, and others.
Would Usyk have beaten any cruiserweight before him?