Oleksandr Usyk defends his undisputed status in Manchester!
“He’s the best man I have ever shared the ring with. He’s pound for pound material and I have nothing bad to say about him. Hes the best I ever fought!” – Tony Bellew
This fight was the epitome of a chess match. The more aggressive, but mindful Usyk applied pressure behind the jab while Bellew sat back and looked to counter over the jab.
After the first quarter, we had a pick ’em type of fight. Bellew had success landing counters over the jab. Meanwhile, the undisputed champion had success setting up the straight left at angles. The former champion surprised many with his ability to display the kind of ring IQ to be competitive.
However, moving into the second quarter of the fight, Usyk started to get comfortable while Bellew grew more and more confused by the angles. The cruiserweight king started to land his jab and setup his straight left at will now.
By round seven, Bellew started to to bleed from his nose from all of the straight shots. The startling thing was Usyk only varied between three different punch sequences. Jab-straight, jab-straight to the body, jab-hook. Simple for a fighter to adjust to barring the opponent did not have the footwork to provide angles.
In round eight, Bellew looked visibly beaten while the champion looked as if the fight just started. The hometown favorite found himself being trapped in the corner as he was in the previous round, trying to elude shots, but with not much success.
As Bellew attempted to come out of the corner with a counter right hand, he got caught with another straight left. You could see the power behind the shot as Usyk turned his hip perfectly while throwing it.
The punch backed the challenger against the ropes where he attempted to defend himself. However, the champion was able to setup a beautiful left hook off the jab that flattened Bellew with his body hanging halfway out of the ring.
He beat the count, but the shot was too devastating. Usyk would leave Manchester Arena with an eighth round knockout victory and an successful defense of his undisputed crown!
Tony Bellew mad it clear before the fight that he would retire win or lose. Afterwards, he stuck to his word. The former WBC champion leaves the sport with a record of 30-3-1 and 20 knockouts.
Meanwhile, Usyk has not definitively said he would move to heavyweight next, although, the WBO is ready to make him the mandatory for Anthony Joshua if he decides to.
By: EJ Williams