Oleksandr Usyk-Tony Bellew: Stats & Stakes

by Cliff Rold

It’s a sign of a healthy division that Oleksandr Usyk could win the loaded World Boxing Super Series and still find mine fields to navigate.

While he hasn’t competed in the class since vacating the WBC title in 2016 for a move to heavyweight, Tony Bellew is still probably best suited to cruiserweight. His track record in the class says he’s no one’s gimme’ and that’s part of why this fight has become eagerly anticipated amongst fight followers (Saturday, DAZN, 1 PM EST).

Bellew never lost his belt in the ring. Can he win all four of the major titles in his class in one shot and extend his win streak to eleven? Or will Usyk pick up his third impressive win of the year on the road?

usyk-bellew (28)

Let’s get into it.

Stats and Stakes

Oleksandr Usyk

Age: 31

Title: WBO cruiserweight (2016-present, 5 defenses); WBC cruiserweight (2017-present, 1 defense); IBF cruiserweight (2018-present, 1stattempted defense); WBA ‘super’ cruiserweight (2018-Present, 1stattempted defense); Lineal/TBRB/Ring cruiserweight (2018-present, 1stattempted defense)

Previous Titles: None

Height: 6’3

Weight: 198 ¼ lbs.

Stance: Southpaw

Hails from: Kiev, Ukraine

Record: 15-0, 11 KO

Record in Major Title Fights: 6-0, 2 KO

Last Five Opponents: 118-6-1 (.948)

Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced: Krzysztof Glowacki UD12; Marco Huck TKO10; Mairis Briedis MD12; Murat Gassiev UD12


Tony Bellew

Age: 35

Title: None

Previous Titles: WBC cruiserweight (2016-17, 1 defense)

Height: 6’3

Weight: 199 ¼ lbs.

Stance: Orthodox

Hails from: Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom

Record: 30-2-1, 20 KO, 1 KOBY

Press Rankings: #2 (Boxing Monthly), #3 (BoxRec)

Record in Major Title Fights: 2-2, 2 KO, 1 KOBY

Last Five Opponents: 143-11-1 (.929)

Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced: Nathan Cleverly L12, SD12; Adonis Stevenson TKO by 6; David Haye TKO11, TKO5

The Case for Usyk: Usyk comes in off the best performance of his career. Against Gassiev, the southpaw showed he could take some big shots with the defensive chops not to take them often in succession. Usyk uses his feet well but can fight capably on the inside with a sharp uppercut. Usyk’s best offensive weapon is probably his jab and against the shorter armed Bellew it will be critical. Bellew is going to press and look to create exchanges. Usyk’s ranginess and greater offensive variety will have to be the tonic to keep Bellew from getting set and finding his chances.

The Case for Bellew: Apart from any physical aspects of the fight, Bellew can feel some mental comfort. He’d riding the wave of two victories over David Haye, hasn’t lost since his sole knockout loss to Adonis Stevenson in 2013, and is basically playing with house money. Usyk is the fighter presumed to have bigger things ahead; the greater pressure is his. Bellew’s best chances will be when he comes forward but he’s a crafty guy. He uses his jab well and is good at setting traps when he goes backwards. Bellew isn’t easy to catch clean and employs good head movement. In the moments where Usyk comes to him, it could create countering chances.

The Pick: Bellew has proven to be formidable at cruiserweight but he’s never looked as complete as Usyk did against Gassiev. That performance hinted at an elite fighter waking up to their prime. Bellew is a great story to be in this position, to upset Haye twice, but every story ends. Usyk has more weapons, better feet, and more dimensions. Bellew will finish but Usyk is the pick by decision.

Additional Weekend Picks

Mairis Briedis TKO Noel Mikaelian

Maksim Vlasov Dec. Krzysztof Glowacki 

Rold Picks 2018: 51-19

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Post a Comment - View More User Comments (0)
Top Headlines Photos: Hooker, Saucedo - Go To War in Sparring in 2012 Tyson Fury on The Therapeutic Value of Training Warrington: Something Tells Me Frampton is Not The Same Guy Horn Realizes That He Must Be Dominate Mundine To Impress Mikey Garcia Ready: I Have Everything To Beat Errol Spence! Hearn: Jarrell Miller vs. Whyte or Chisora Possible in Early 2019 Felix Verdejo's Next Bout Eyed For United States in Early 2019 The Other Half of Junior Welterweight Fury: If I Fought Wilder In Manchester, We'd Sell 75,000 Tickets Photos: Claressa Shields, Nico Hernandez - Open Workouts Photos: Gabe Rosado, Luis Arias - Shows Off Moves at Workouts Photos: Brandon Rios, Ramon Alvarez - Grind at Workouts Photos: Jarrell Miller, Bogdan Dinu - Putting in Work in Kansas AIBA Prez Says They Are 100% Compliant With Anti-Doping Rules Peterson Quickly Agreed To Face Lipinets: I'll Fight Anyone! Photos: Maurice Hooker, Alex Saucedo - Go Face To Face Fury: Roach Can Do Whatever He Wants In Corner On Fight Night Ladarius Miller vs. Ricardo Garcia Tops Mayweather Card, 12/7 Uzcategui: No KO - I Want To Give Plant The Beating of His Life! Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury Non-TV Undercard Information Porter: WBC Mandatory Orders Derailed Immediate Spence Bout Kerman Lejarraga vs. Frankie Gavin is Picked Up By ESPN+ Lopez Confident He Can Give Thurman a Run For His Money Arias Vows To Beat Down and Bloody Rosado For "Bitch" Claim Karl Dargan Returns To Action on Bivol vs. Pascal Card Tyson Fury Secures Freddie Roach To Be in Corner For Wilder Mark Heffron vs. Liam Williams on Warrington-Frampton Card WBA Won't Strip Charr; Miller-Dinu Unlikely To Be Title Fight Bivol: I'm Confident That I'll Make a Statement With Pascal Filip Hrgovic vs. Ytalo Perea on December 8t in Zagreb Santa Cruz: To Prove I'm The Best at 126 - I Have To Beat Russell Danny Garcia Backs Adrien Broner To Upset Manny Pacquiao Errol Spence: I Don't Think Keith Thurman Will Ever Fight Me Frampton: If I Beat Warrington - I Want Another Champion Next Charlo Brothers Promise Fireworks, Explosive Wins in Barclays Warrington-Frampton: Nathan Gorman, Arthur, Wright Added Darren Tetley Looks To Bigger Things After Warburton Win Fielding Motivated By Fear, Doubters To Topple Canelo Hosea Burton: I'd Love To Punch Anthony Yarde's Face In! Canelo Feels Mikey Garcia Has a Very Tough Task With Spence

Latest Active Forum Threads