Tony Bellew has said that one more shot in his final fight could have ‘put him away for good.’
The fan-favourite from Liverpool had achieved a cruiserweight world title before two big-money wins over David Haye, but decided against retirement and had one final roll of the dice at 200lbs.
Speaking to his fellow campmates on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, Bellew praised Usyk as ‘having everything.’
“It was too hard. I’ve fought stronger people. I’ve fought quicker people. But I’ve never fought someone like him, who’s got everything. Oleksandr doesn’t create angles. He works you out, he downloads what you’re doing, it’s like he downloads all the date in front of him and it takes him three rounds to do it. With me, it took him eight.”
The Brit then went on to discuss the final moments of the fight – a one-two in the eighth that had Bellew out on his feet before the exact same combination sent him down hard with his head bouncing off the bottom rope.
“And then he does it, he pulls the trigger. But I was exhausted, like I don’t remember. I remember everything up until round seven. I don’t remember round eight.
I was up at six. He didn’t knock me clean out. I was down on my back and I got up at six. Thank god the referee didn’t let me [continue] because he would’ve killed me. The referee literally saved my life … Next should probably puts me away for good.”
Bellew was still on his hands and knees at seven when the referee waved the fight off.
It would be his last professional fight, and Usyk’s final one at cruiserweight, going on to fight twice at heavyweight before defeating Anthony Joshua for the unified titles.
Usyk still holds those three belts today, with another win over ‘AJ’ in the rematch and a mandatory defence against Daniel Dubois. Next up, he targets the fourth and final prize against Tyson Fury.