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Sunday Punch: Oleksandr Usyk violently ends Tony Bellew’s career

A look back at Oleksandr Usyk’s spectacular KO of Tony Bellew.

Cruiserweight is a great division that doesn’t really get any mainstream boxing attention in the United States. Think of cruiserweight as “small heavyweights who are good” and also if you’re an MMA fan, do not mistake this as support for cruiserweight in MMA, which would shove a division in between two weak ones.

Anyway, Oleksandr Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) was cruiserweight’s star. He unified the entire division through the World Boxing Super Series tournament, schooling Murat Gassiev in the July 2018 final to become the undisputed champion. Before venturing up to heavyweight, the Ukrainian Olympic gold medalist traveled to London later that October to defend his titles against former cruiserweight champ Tony Bellew. This was due to be Bellew’s retirement fight regardless of result, and he was coming off consecutive wins at heavyweight over David Haye.

The fight was reasonably competitive for the first few rounds, but Usyk upped his aggression and pressure to the point where Bellew was clearly fatiguing and on his way to losing on the scorecards. Usyk, who isn’t known for devastating power, laid Bellew out with a monstrous straight left just about midway through round eight. No need to continue.

Watch the video at the top of the page.

By the way, Usyk is the best road warrior in boxing today. He beat Bellew in the UK, Michael Hunter in the US, Mairis Briedis in Latvia, Marco Huck in Germany, and Murat Gassiev in Russia. Four former champions and a former cruiserweight turned current heavyweight contender in Hunter. That is badass.

Usyk will make his second heavyweight appearance on October 31st against Dereck Chisora. Bellew (30-3-1, 20 KOs) is enjoying retirement and works as a Sky Sports analyst. Maybe he’ll be calling Usyk-Chisora for Sky, seeing as that card is in London.

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