It is on!
Undisputed cruiserweight champion of the world Aleksandr Usyk will defend Ring, IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO championships against Tony Bellew at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England, on Nov. 10.
Usyk, who is rated No. 4 pound-for-pound by The Ring, made history by outclassing Murat Gassiev to become the first cruiserweight to hold all four recognized world titles simultaneously when he won the inaugural World Boxing Super Series in July.
“I’ve been preparing for this fight for a long time and I’m delighted that we’ve got the venue and the date finalized,” said Usyk (15-0, 11 knockouts).
“I am deep into my training camp with my team, working hard and preparing for a long fight with Tony. He says he will beat me and I love his attitude, but you cannot beat-up somebody who is invisible in the ring. As always, I will be victorious.”
A glittering career has seen Bellew win British, Commonwealth and European championships, as well at the WBC cruiserweight title. Now, the Liverpool warrior aims for a fairytale ending in what could be his final fight.
“This is the ultimate test for me,” said Bellew (30-2-1, 20 KOs). “There is no greater test than Aleksandr Usyk. He is one of the most feared men in boxing. Everyone is saying that I’ll get beat up quickly but we’ll find out, won’t we?
“Make no mistake, I know this is the most dangerous fight of my life, but I’m also going into this with my eyes wide open. I’m not in awe of Usyk. I won’t stand and admire him and allow him to rattle off five-punch combinations on my head.
“He’s meeting someone who’s just as quick as him, someone that’s competed at a division lighter than him, and someone that’s come across fighters much more powerful than him.
“I’m going into this fight with absolutely nothing to lose because the whole world thinks I’m going to get smashed. I’m going to do something that nobody has ever done before. I’m going to knock out an undisputed cruiserweight champion.”
“It’s an absolute honor to promote Britain’s first ever undisputed (cruiserweight) title fight,” said Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn. “This one of the biggest and best fights in boxing with Tony Bellew daring to be great against one of the top pound-for-pounders in the sport.”
“I cannot wait for this fight,” said Alex Krassyuk of K2 Promotions. “Two lionhearted warriors will collide for all of the cruiserweight world titles. This is a fight that the world has been waiting for and I’m delighted to be part of history in the making.”
The bout will be broadcast on Sky Sports Boxing Office in the U.K. and DAZN. An announcement on ticket prices and on sale dates will be made in due course.
Quotes courtesy of a press release issued by Matchroom Boxing.
Tom Gray is Associate Editor for Ring Magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing