By Keith Idec
Tony Bellew laughed off Oleksandr Usyk’s attempt to intimidate him Saturday night.
Bellew and Usyk faced off at Wembley Stadium to kick off the promotion of their November 10 fight in Manchester, England.
“He is what he is,” Usyk told Sky Sports. “He does what he says on the tin and he’s a big dude, and yes, he tried to intimidate me. But I am not scared of him at all.
“Of course he tried to get me in that staredown. But if he thinks that is going to do anything to me, never mind get me worried, he is just a big fool.”
Usyk’s menacing stare might not have affected Bellew, but Bellew will be a big underdog when he challenges the undisputed cruiserweight champion at Manchester Arena. The 31-year-old Usyk is considered one of boxing’s best, pound-for-pound, after winning the World Boxing Super Series’ cruiserweight tournament.
The 6-feet-3 southpaw was especially impressive in the WBSS final July 21 in Moscow.
The 2012 Olympic gold medalist completely out-classed previously unbeaten Russian Murat Gassiev (26-1, 19 KOs) in that 12-round fight. Ukraine’s Usyk (15-0, 11 KOs) won all 12 rounds against Gassiev on one scorecard (120-108) and 11 rounds on two scorecards (119-109, 119-109) to retain his WBC and WBO cruiserweight titles and take the IBF and WBA championships from Gassiev.
The 35-year-old Bellew (30-2-1, 20 KOs) stopped former WBA heavyweight champ David Haye in each of his last two fights.
London’s Haye (28-4, 26 KOs) suffered a torn Achilles’ tendon during their first heavyweight fight, which he lost by 11th-round technical knockout in March 2017 at O2 Arena in London. Bellew beat him by fifth-round TKO in their rematch May 5 at O2 Arena.
Before beating Haye twice at heavyweight, Liverpool’s Bellew went 7-0 as a cruiserweight following a sixth-round TKO loss to WBC light heavyweight champ Adonis Stevenson (29-1-1, 24 KOs) in November 2013.
“I am not scared of anyone, certainly not Usyk,” Bellew said. “He can give me that crazy Ukrainian look, so I just gave him a crazy Scouse one back. He can do what he wants. I have been written off throughout my whole life, so it’s nothing new.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.