Oleksandr Usyk didn’t have an easy time with Tony Bellew today in Manchester, but he found the momentum and violently finished things in the eighth round of a very good fight, retaining his WBC, WBA, IBF, and WBO cruiserweight titles.
Usyk (16-0, 12 KO) started a bit slow, and Bellew (30-3-1, 20 KO) showed more craft than many gave him credit for coming in. Usyk’s trademark jab wasn’t pumping the way it usually does early on, and Bellew was able to find a home for several good right hands in particular.
But as the fight wore on, you could see Usyk coming on more and more. He won the seventh round clearly, his best round of the fight, and then he simply had Bellew’s number. He landed a few good shots and then a vicious left hand, which sent Bellew down to the canvas, his head banging off the bottom rope.
Bellew fought as hard as he could to get up, but it simply wasn’t to be. The shot was just too much, and he was laid out clean and clear.
Usyk, who has an argument as the best cruiserweight of all time, likely will now move up to heavyweight. As for Bellew, the 35-year-old veteran said before this fight that he would retire no matter the outcome of this bout, and after the fight, he raised the victorious man’s hand.