Former colleagues, Tony Bellew and Johnny Nelson, are on opposite sides of the fence when it comes to picking a winner between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk.
Fury and Usyk are currently negotiating a fight that will see an undisputed heavyweight champion crowned for the first time since Lennox Lewis – Usyk bringing the WBA, WBO and IBF belts to the table against Fury’s WBC.
Bellew held the WBC cruiserweight title in his heyday, and had a shot at becoming two-time champion against Usyk in his final fight. He lost by knockout in the eighth. Whilst he retired, the Ukrainian moved up to heavyweight and went about winning the belts there.
Now a pundit, he recently made his pick for the four-belt heavyweight clash to JOE, believing Usyk was the only man to beat Fury.
“The only problem is, at that kind of weight and that kind of size, he’s always going to be a step behind Oleksandr Usyk … Usyk has got the greatest footwork in the world. His feet are just exceptional.”
“I understand the theory of Fury being the favourite going in, but if anyone is going to beat him, it’s going to be Oleksandr Usyk because he is quick enough to dart in and out all night. He is fit enough. He is sharp enough. To take [Fury’s] quote, the hardest he’s ever pushed was Steve Cunningham, a cruiserweight who dropped him.
If you think Steve Cunningham’s style is hard, wait till you f***ing get in the ring with Oleksandr Usyk mate.”
Nelson – who was a cruiserweight world champion in his era, too – spoke to Pro Boxing Fans about the fight, respecting Bellew’s opinion given his experience in the ring with Usyk, but unable see past a Fury victory.
“Tony’s most qualified in all of us to make a comment on that. I personally think it’s the other way round. I think Fury is going to be too big, too strong, and too unorthodox for Usyk.
Usyk’s style, Fury’s style – [they] look brilliant against orthodox fighters, but against unorthodox fighters, that’s where you’ll see the cream rise to the top.”
Whose pick will be proven correct relies on one big factor – the fight to happen. Fans have been disappointed with the slow pace of the negotiations after being repeatedly told that nothing would stand in the way.
Promoter Frank Warren has marked a date of April 29, although his fighter, Fury, came out more recently to say he hadn’t even seen an offer.