By Tomi Pradarics
What seemed to be a done deal for weeks has now got official. Undisputed cruiserweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk will travel to the United Kingdom for his next ring appearance to put his throne on the line against British star Tony Bellew.
The celebrated matchup between the two colorful boxers will take place at the Manchester Arena on November 10th, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK as well as on DAZN in the US.
The announcement of this event came a week after Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing signed a multi-fight agreement with the Ukrainian Usyk, who unified the whole division in a historic undisputed match-up against fellow unbeaten Murat Gassiev by unanimous decision as part of the finals of the prestigious World Boxing Super Series tournament in July 21st in Moscow, Russia.
The 2012 London Olympic gold medalist Usyk (15-0, 11 KOs) has already in the gym to get ready for the big event against former champion Bellew (30-2-1, 20 KOs).
“I’ve been preparing for this fight for a long time and I’m delighted that we’ve got the venue and the date finalized. I cannot wait to fight in the UK,” said Usyk at the official press release.
“I am deep into my training camp with my team, working hard and preparing for a long fight with Tony. He says he will beat me and I love his attitude, but you cannot beat up somebody who is invisible in the ring! As always, I will be victorious on November 10.”
The British fighter, who once held the WBC belt at cruiserweight, is regarded as a sizeable, 7-to-1 to 10-to-1 underdog by bookmakers, a role he is perfectly aware of.
“I’m going into this fight with absolutely nothing to lose because the whole world thinks I’m going to get smashed. I have everything to gain and nothing to lose,” discussed Bellew, who, as always, enters his upcoming bout full of confidence.
“On November 10th, I’m going to do something that nobody has ever done before, I’m going to knock out an undisputed cruiserweight champion of the world.”
Alexander Krassyuk, head of K2 Promotions Ukraine and thus promoter of Usyk has shown great appreciation toward the November showdown in Manchester.
“I can’t wait for this fight to happen. Two lionhearted warriors will collide for the undisputed championship at cruiserweight. That is something the world has been waiting for! Happy to be part of it, happy to witness history in the making!”
Despite the one-sided odds by the bookies, Krassyuk prepares for a tough fight as he believes Bellew’s strengths will get doubled up based on the fact that the Liverpudlian has nothing to lose.
“Experts give no chance for Tony in this fight, but he proved many times that being an underdog does not mean being a loser. I cannot see Usyk having an easy walk on November 10. This is Tony’s biggest chance of his career and his biggest challenge. But he has nothing to lose and that makes him really dangerous.”
Though Usyk will face Bellew at cruiserweight, the Ukrainian businessman doesn’t hide his enthusiasm regarding his fighter’s proposed run at heavyweight that could begin right after the November showdown for the P4P shortlisted champion.
“Usyk declares the beginning of his hegemony in the world of professional boxing. Once he succeeds he will start chasing the heart of the king, AJ. Watch out!”
You can reach Tamas Pradarics at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @TomiPradarics.