On Saturday, November 10, 2018, after a competitive seven rounds, Aleksandr Usyk (16-0, 12 KOs) took down Tony Bellew (30-3-1, 20 KOs) via knockout in Round 8.
Bellew came to fight in what was the final bout of his career, but Usyk just proved to be too much.
The beginning of the fight was a slow one with both men feeling each other out. Surprisingly, it was Bellew who got things going first.
Rounds 2 and 3 saw Bellew actually land counter shots on the champion. Something rarely anyone gets the chance to do. Unfortunately for Bellew he could not keep his early pace up as Usyk began to wear him down during the middle rounds.
Usyk is notoriously known for keeping a fast pace. His gas tank, along with his volume punching, began to really bother Bellew.
Bellew began to swing for the fences when things began to look bleak and managed to land a few really good shots, but Usyk did nothing but smile and continued to move forward.
A few more big shots from Usyk, highlighted by a left hook, and just like that Bellew was looking up from the canvas.
The referee began his count, but Bellew was not getting up. Usyk knocked out Bellew in the eighth round to retain his titles.
Bellew was disappointed, but you wouldn’t know it as he was very classy in defeat.
“I tried my best. I gave it everything I’ve got,” said Bellew to the crowd. “He’s an exceptional fighter, one of the pound-for-pound best, I’ve ever seen. The greatest man I’ve ever been in a ring with. He’s just better than me! I accept it, man. I’ve got nothing but respect for him.”
As for Usyk he wants to enjoy his victory but he also wants to take some time to relax and enjoy the fruits of his labor. “I want to spend some time with my family, it’s been a tough year,” said Usyk.
His promoter however was a lot more direct in what he had to say. “He definitely needs to fight Anthony Joshua,” said Eddie Hearn.
We can all get excited and dream about a potential matchup between those two, but first let’s allow Usyk to enjoy his victory tonight. He’s earned that much.
All photos courtesy of Matchroom Boxing