Oleksandr Usyk knocks out Tony Bellew in the Eighth Round in Manchester
By Hector Franco | Senior Writer and Editor
Published: November 10, 2018
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – At the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk (16-0, 12 KOs) may have sealed the deal for this year’s fighter of the year honors as he successfully defended his titles against Liverpool, England’s Tony Bellew (30-3-1, 20 KOs) in a tough and competitive bout.
For the bout with Usyk, Bellew made the move back down to the cruiserweight division after a short stint at heavyweight to face British rival, David Haye. Based on Usyk’s prior performances he went into the fight as the heavy favorite over Bellew with many only giving the Liverpool, England native a puncher’s chance at victory.
When the bout first went underway, both men fought on even terms as the two men had success in spots leaving many rounds to be decided by one or two landed punches. Bellew made it clear that he was in the ring looking for a win against Usyk and that he would not go down easily. In the first five rounds, there were many swing rounds highlighted by Bellew’s ability to land powerful straight right hands. Usyk with just 16 professional bouts under his belt kept his composure throughout the match and never looked deterred at anything Bellew was able to accomplish. While Bellew was able to land right hands on Usyk, the Ukrainian kept applying pressure on the British fighter backing him up against the ropes landing occasional left hands. After six rounds of action, the bout could have been scored for either man being ahead depending on your preferences.
The ending of the bout came somewhat abruptly in the eighth round. Usyk picked up his intensity and level of volume while backing up Bellew who looked listless and tired. Usyk began landing his straight left hand more frequently until he eventually landed one that sent Bellew directly to the canvas. Bellew almost made it up before the referee's ten count; however, the referee was able to view the English fighters condition and saw that he was in no position to continue fighting.
Usyk came away with an eighth-round knockout victory.
2018 has been wrapped in a bow for Usyk and fans will now anticipate his next move. The logical next step for Usyk is to head into the heavyweight division where will be leaps and bounds ahead of most of the division in skill and technique.
If the recently retired Andre Ward decided to make a return to the squared circle a bout with Usyk would put together two of this era’s finest technical pugilists. A match between those two Olympic gold medalists should fair much better than last year’s one-sided fight between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux.
(Featured Photo: Matchroom Boxing)