Bellew bows out after brutal KO defeat to undisputed Usyk
Sunday 11th November 2018
For all the marbles, the milestones, and ultimately, to make history at Manchester Arena for all four cruiserweight belts including the Ring Magazine, Tony Bellew was beaten by the very elite on Saturday night, in a pound-for-pound king, Oleksandr Usyk.
Up until the devastating finish in the eight round, Bellew had boxed superbly in the opening three rounds, making Uysk miss and controlling his distance. He began to implement the gameplan, landing numerous, looping right hands.
However, it was apparent that Usyk was using these rounds to gauge how much Bellew would commit before unloading those spectacular, dazzling combinations.
Bellew began to tire, entering the championship rounds, and was being punished downstairs as Usyk got into a flow and found gaping holes to the body of the Liverpudlian.
Usyk most underappreciated attribute is his feet and these were exceptional in front of 21,000, in attendance. Usyk started to get into range and tee of on Bellew but was not expending any energy in doing so.
After the fourth round, the gameplan went completely out the window and Bellew reverted to type- to have a fight and call Usyk into the centre of the ring and trade.
Usyk just smiled through the gumshield at the highly emotional Bellew and boxed his way to land that shot, outmanoeuvred Bellew and apply more pressure as the rounds ticked over.
Bellew was standing in the pocket for far too long and Usyk could cut the ring off and get into range to find that southpaw left of his.
Nobody would have expected Bellew to outbox such as accomplished boxer at all, with over 350 amateur fights and do so with ease.
To his downfall, Bellew stayed in the pocket for far too long and tried to box on the backfoot which is a disaster against a mover like Usyk who can cut the ring off so well.
This was made clear in the eighth round, as Bellew took a risk like he has done his whole career and got caught flush with a sharp and spiteful southpaw left. Bellew put up a valiant effort but Usyk was just too good and levels showed.
Bellew's body was crippled by this hurtful blow and the head snapped back, beneath the ropes. There was not much left in the tank, with Usyk targeting Bellew's body and was the right call for Terry O'Connor to call a halt to the fight.
Bellew can leave the sport with his head held high, with no weight of expectation from the day he was crowned British champion to that dream fight at his beloved Goodison against Ilunga Makabu.
The two David Haye fights were the pinnacle of his career and losing to a formidable opponent and force to be reckoned with up at heavyweight, in Usyk, Bellew was been right in the deep end and can be proud of his achievements.
The resume for Usyk in 2018 speaks for itself- Marco Huck, Mairis Breidis, Murat Gassiev and now Tony Bellew, the WBA, WBC, WBO, IBF champion will be a major contender for the Ring Magazine fighter of the year.