The Big Question: Bellew vs Usyk - who wins?
Tony Bellew challenges undisputed cruiser king Oleksandr Usyk on Saturday night in Manchester. The BM team are here with their picks and predictions...
Boxing is about levels, and Usyk is levels above Bellew. The Ukrainian has done well in the UK. - he won gold at the 2008 European Championships in Liverpool, as well as the 2012 Olympics in London. On 10 November he will successfully defend his undisputed cruiserweight championship of the world in Manchester. I'm going with Usyk by decision in the region of 116-112. - Michael Montero
There's a reason Usyk won the Muhammad Ali Trophy in the first season of the World Boxing Super Series to become the undisputed cruiserweight champion of the world. He has above average handspeed, a high workrate, is versatile and has underrated toughness. Bellew is tough too and his heart should keep him in the contest, but barring a come-from-behind KO it's difficult to envision him winning in any fashion. Give me Usyk by comfortable decision, say 117-111. - Anthony Cocks
Usyk has proved he’s one of the top five best in the sport today and is headed for a probable Fighter of the Year award with another win here. Bellew has enjoyed his own admirable run and gathered up some top paydays for himself, but this will be a step too far inside the ring. There’s a huge gulf in class and that will show, with Usyk not going to be intimidated or affected by another bout on the road. I expect Bellew to put up a strong stance early but ultimately fall late. Usyk by late stoppage. - Lee Gormley
Bellew is one of those fighters that loves proving people wrong; he did as much when he won the WBC Title vs Ilunga Makabu and did it again when stopping David Haye (twice). Usyk is one of the best in the sport but Bellew has the home advantage, the power advantage and will be very much the home fighter. However, Usyk isn’t an unproven and inactive Makabu or a broken down, old David Haye. The Ukrainian loves being on the road and has beaten the best fighters in arguably the best division in boxing - in short, he’s like no one Bellew has ever faced before. While I respect Bellew for taking this challenge, he’s well over his head here. The gaps in quality coupled with Bellew dropping back to 200lbs forces me to pick the champion by late stoppage in a one-sided contest that will further cement the Ukrainian's claims as one of, if not the best cruiserweight of all time. Usyk TKO 10 - Callum Rudge
Bellew has proven me right more times than I was wrong. I didn't think he'd beat Stevenson or win the first fight with Cleverly, and while I tipped Haye to beat him first time around, for the rematch I went with Bellew. I am pleased to have converted to being one of those people who now hates to bet against him, but I don't think this bout is going to go his way. The Ukrianian is the one cruiserweight who makes me go against a Bellew victory - I see Usyk winning on points unless he goes all-out for a late KO. Perhaps this is Bellew's swansong, but if it is, I can only think what a shame that it's not as his favourite football ground. (By the way, for anyone out there who is superstitious, then they have to bet on Usyk: every time Bellew has been crowned a champion - whether Commonwealth, British, international, European or world - he was contesting a vacant title (yes, all seven times) and the times he's lost were when he was trying to dethrone a reigning champion). - Colin Harris
Bellew has proved me wrong so many times, you'd think I'd learn... But I'm still picking Usyk. The Ukrainian is a top five P4P talent as far as I'm concerned - the footwork, the engine, the angles, the combinations... If Bellew brings pressure, then we've seen Usyk deal with it. If he attempts to box, we know Usyk can deal with it. I just don't see how the affable Liverpudlian does it. I'd love him to, but I just can't see it. Usyk by UD - James Oddy
Like many of the others here, I'm reluctant to write off Tony Bellew. He's made a mockery of the odds and certain reputations before. At the very least, he's got a puncher's chance here, and realistically a fair bit more than that. Usyk, though, is no Ilunga Makaubu, no shopworn David Haye. He's undoubtedly a P4P top five fighter (I put him at either number three or four in the recent Boxing Monthly Mailbox), probably already no worse than the second-best cruiserweight of all time, and - as things stand pre-10 November - an absolute lock for Fighter of the Year. I love this fight, and hugely admire Bellew for taking the challenge but Usyk fights with a brilliance and a kind of clinical efficiency that forces you to put any sentiment to one side. Usyk by UD, with cards in the 116-112, 117-111 region. - Tom Craze
In the rush to acclaim Usyk are we forgetting what a life and death struggle the Ukrainian had with Mairis Briedis? Maybe. Are we underestimating Tony Bellew yet again? Perhaps. For me, though, the decisive factor is that while Bellew is a fantastic competitor, Usyk is a fabulous boxer. The Englishman will have a clever game plan, no doubt, and may even have some fleeting successes, but in the end the Ukrainian will prove too canny and too accomplished. I see Usyk winning via points decision, with one scorecard probably causing bafflement. - Luke G. Williams
Final tally: Usyk 8 Bellew 0
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