Can Bellew exploit Usyk’s weaknesses?

Updated: 08/06/2023

Tony Bellew is currently preparing for his huge fight with Oleksandr Usyk at the Manchester Arena this weekend. The match up sees Bellew once again in the role of the underdog – a role in which he excelled during his remarkable victory over David Haye back in March 2017. But facing Usyk will present the Liverpool local with a completely different set of challenges, and Bellew could be forced to alter his style to find a way past the undisputed cruiserweight champion.

Oleksandr Usyk is fast becoming one of the biggest names in the world of boxing. Since making his professional debut in 2013, the formidable Ukrainian has won 15 consecutive bouts, picking up each of the four major world cruiserweight titles in the process.

Tony Bellew has experienced a markedly different rise to prominence in the world of boxing. The 35-year-old first became a well known public figure following his shock victory over David Haye in 2017. The fight against Haye was labelled a David v Goliath match up, but Bellew proved himself a seasoned professional by beating Haye in a rematch earlier this year.

Bellew feels that he has again been written off by the public for tonight's clash with Usyk, but earlier this week, former opponent Haye suggested that Bellew could claim another unlikely victory, if he can target Usyk's weaknesses.

When asked if he can identify any frailties Usky, Haye said: “Maybe experience. He's never really been put in a scenario where he's had to go looking for a fight. He's used to kind of already starting the fight with a two or three-point lead, in terms of everybody expects him to win. Very few fights, have people expected him to lose, because he was such a good amateur.

“Even at heavyweight, he's beaten real big names as an amateur, so going down to cruiserweight, he's used to fighting heavier guys, and he's held his own. He's always been very difficult and tricky to nail down.

“I definitely think he has the attributes to be a very awkward night for Tony, but having said all that, Tony's left hook is the equaliser. If Tony can land that left hook to the head, that left hook to the body, he can really get a foothold in this fight and turn the tide.”

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