Despite the fact that both fighters’ promoters seem to prefer it at heavyweight, Tony Bellew’s preferences might mean that a potential fight with undisputed world cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk takes place in that division.
From Eddie Hearn at Sky Sports:
“I told Usyk’s team that a fight would have to be [at heavyweight] because that’s where Tony is now, and he feels good. Tony told me: ‘I want to fight him at cruiserweight because I want all the belts’. If he’s going into a fight as risky as Usyk, he wants the biggest reward possible which is to be the undisputed cruiserweight world champion. ... There is a very good chance of this fight happening. My job is to make it, because Bellew has asked me to.”
Usyk’s promoter Alexander Krassyuk added this:
“I would prefer Usyk debuting in the heavyweights. But he is an undisputed [champion] in the cruisers so it is likely that fight might happen in cruiserweight division. Usyk wants the fight. I have a lot of respect for Tony, he is a brave and determined fighter who proved his skills and character in the last couple of fights. Bellew is an emeritus WBC champ, Usyk holds the regular WBC title. This fight should definitely take place.”
Bellew (30-2-1, 20 KO) has fought his last two bouts at heavyweight, a pair of sensational wins over David Haye, and at 35 you’d think he wouldn’t be looking to boil down to the 200-pound limit again.
But if this is really his desire, he may be right: the biggest reward is to be able to possibly call yourself undisputed cruiserweight champion, rather than just winning a big fight at heavyweight, in another man’s debut in the division.
Usyk (15-0, 11 KO) is fresh off of unifying the four belts by handily beating Murat Gassiev in the finals of the World Boxing Super Series, and is a hot name in the sport, a top pound-for-pound fighter and emerging star.
His ultimate goal, as stated by Krassyuk in the Sky article, is to face Anthony Joshua. So a move to heavyweight is inevitable, but one more big fight at cruiser might make sense in this case.
Which would you prefer to see, cruiserweight or heavyweight?