As we move closer to an official announcement for Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk to battle it out for the undisputed heavyweight world championship, Tony Bellew has changed his mind on who he thinks wins.
The fight is perhaps the most important that can be made in boxing right now, and, luckily for fans, seems like it’s going to happen. Fury’s promoter, Frank Warren, has recently claimed that it will ‘100%’ happen on April 29, but a location is still to be decided between the Middle East (more likely) and the UK.
Former cruiserweight world champion, Bellew, faced Usyk in his last fight before retiring. He was knocked out in the eighth round, a final 200lb victory for the Ukrainian before he started his heavyweight campaign, going on to win the unified titles from Anthony Joshua and putting him in this position now.
With the in-ring experience, Bellew has changed his prediction for the undisputed bout. He broke it down for JOE.
“I’ve always thought Fury’s going to be too big, but the closer this has drawn I actually side towards Usyk. I think Usyk is the only one that can beat him.
What I will say about Tyson Fury is, since linking up with SugarHill, his style has evolved massively. He is no longer a feather fisted fighter. He’s a heavy handed, pressure counter puncher.
I think it’s one of the best transformations I’ve ever seen in a fighter … I’ve always thought he’s gonna be a really huge, awkward heavyweight that is a nightmare to fight, but now he’s a big, awkward, dangerous heavyweight.”
Bellew now thinks Usyk is the man to beat Fury – the only man – and believes that the size will play in his favour rather than the Brit’s, a direct contrast to many predictions.
“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.”
Picks for Usyk have been fewer than ones for Fury, and he’ll likely enter the ring the underdog – not that that will do anything to dent his confidence.