On Saturday 10th November Oleksandr Usyk and Tony Bellew go to war in 12 rounds for Usyk’s WBC/IBF/WBA/WBO cruiserweight titles. With all the silverware a boxer could dream for on the line, both Usyk and Bellew are staking a claim as the number one fighter in the division.
In this fight preview we assess their chances of winning by dissecting their track records, and the best available betting markets to back.
Oleksandr Usyk (15-0-0) is the man of the hour, some say deserving of a pound-for-pound nomination. After Lomachenkoing his way through a killer crew of cruiser-weights in the World Boxing Super Series, the Ukrainian immediately put pen to paper with with Eddie Hearn. His first demand: offering Matchroom stablemate, Tony Bellew a bite at the cherry. Hearn played an absolute blinder in securing that contract.
Have a look at what you can expect from Usyk in this highlight reel:
Tony Bellew (30-2-0), fresh from a tropical honeymoon and riding the wave of retiring David Haye earlier this year, drops weight to fight once again at the 200 lbs limit. His last two performances have arguable been his best to date, proving at 35 he still has years on the clock and cuts a formidable opponent for any fighter at world level. Even Oleksandr Usyk.
Check out Bellew’s career highlights online here:
Tale of the Tape
|Oleksandr Usyk||vs.||Tony Bellew|
|190 cm||Height||191 cm|
|W W W W W||Last five fights||W W W W W|
Usyk vs. Bellew Betting Tips
Even Bellew called out Usyk as the clear favourite to win this cruiserweight showdown, so no wonder that the mainstream betting platforms have shortened the Ukrainian’s odds to 1/7. But bet against Bomber at your peril – those who sided with the bookies in backing him to lose against David Haye were silenced, not once but twice. Here is our pick of the main markets to explore when betting on this upcoming fight.
Usyk to win outright @ 1/7
And why not? 15 wins in five years as a pro, with a frightening 73% knockout record. But even at such meagre betting odds, backing the Ukrainian to score another milestone victory is not a cast-iron guarantee. As a fighter on away turf, the crowd can influence how his performance is interpreted by the judges. Anything but a clean-cut stoppage means leaving the decision in their hands. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Bellew to win outright @ 9/2
Placing a modest stake on our British hopeful to cause an upset could prove worthwhile given the appetising return on offer. Even as the home favourite, we don’t expect these odds to drift so consider picking Bellew to win as a solid contingency plan.
Bellew’s style has matured with age, whilst maintaining a critical high level of aggression to dominate the fight when needed. If he were set on retiring after the final bell, you can wager that every ounce of his strength and determination will be invested in beating the beast from Ukraine.
Usyk to win on points @ 8/5
Should Bellew disrupt the pace of the fight, Usyk may have to settle for a long-drawn out jostle to add a sixteenth victory to his legacy. In recently WBSS tournament bouts, he went the distance with Mairis Briedis and Murat Gassiev, a duo who arguably have less presence and guile than a man of Tony Bellew’s stature. If the fight goes to points, it’s likely to be won on Usyk’s ringcraft efficiency.
Bellew to win by KO/TKO @ 6/1
There’s a first time for everything. And if your money should go one one man to knock out the current cruiserweight title holder, why not Bellew. The Liverpudlian has KO’d 20 opponents leading up to this blockbuster, and he has the nerve to bring down another goliath on Manchester. Betting him to do so gives tasty 6/1 odds.
Fight to go the distance @ 6/4
To quote Andre Ward, the championship rounds start from six onwards. Before then, we expect these two brutes to have got the measure of one another, maybe even landing a few unanswered power shots, grafting to open up a discernible points lead. If we don’t see a knockdown from Bellew, our guess is that this goes the full distance. At 6/4, it’s a risk averse move to pursue.
Our Prediction – Usyk Win on Points
Kudos to Oleksandr Usyk for calling out Bomber because if there’s one man he will do well to distance himself from at this pivotal point in his career it’s a wily technical boxer who has aged like a fine wine. The Ukrainian could have coasted in the US on a DZAN cruiserweight circus tour but he chose in-form Bellew to prove his worth. Similarly, full credit goes to Bellew for accepting this fight without hesitation, admitting the monster from the former Soviet state could eat him alive but believes he can pull the emergency cord on a hype train to retire from boxing on a career high.
Unlike the 15 men Usyk smoked before and during the World Boxing Super Series, we expect Bellew to see through the intimidation game and bring the heat from round one. He may even land and cause an early KO off the cuff. And why not? His analysis is breaking down a fighter’s chinks is second to none. In adopting the role of underdog he can take the champ has never been before. We want this win for Bellew and point to the old adage of not writing off the puncher’s chance as just one solid reason why.
Freezing out sentimental attachment, we foresee Usyk retaining his arsenal of titles and planting his flag for world domination. His nimble movement and ferocious punching power, championed by not one but two Lomachenko’s, is testimony to why critics are already etching his name into the pound-for-pound list. This ensemble of skills will no doubt shine through and gift Bellew unsolvable problems from the first bell through to round 12.