It was by no means an easy fight for Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk (16-0, 12 KOs), but he once again won in enemy territory, knocking out England’s Tony Bellew (30-3-1, 20 KOs) in the eighth round to defend all four of his cruiserweight titles, hence his status as undisputed champion. Two judges had Bellew ahead at the time of the stoppage, but momentum was firmly in Usyk’s favor, as his pace, timing, accuracy, footwork, and volume punching were too much for the notoriously tough Bellew to withstand. A series of big punches had a tiring Bellew hurt, and a cracking left hand wiped Bellew out and almost through the ropes. He got up before the ten-count, but was in no condition to continue. A genuine KO of the Year contender.
As for what’s next for Usyk? He is surely boxing’s 2018 Fighter of the Year, and all eyes are on a likely move to heavyweight, where there is already talk that he may very well be an opponent for Anthony Joshua. It may not be Joshua vs. Wilder, but Joshua vs. Usyk would be superb and in many ways more fascinating than a Wilder showdown.
Watch the KO in the clips below, along with our play-by-play of the finish.
Round 8 – Straight left clips Bellew right away. Bellew looking to counter. Usyk with a heavy combination as he unloads in the corner, before Bellew moves away. Right hand glances off Usyk’s forehead. Hard right hook by Usyk, then a lovely jan. Two strong lefts by Usyk! Bellew getting beaten up with those shots. More left hands by Usyk! Bellew is in trouble. HUGE LEFT HAND AND BELLEW IS DOWN! HE IS NOT GOING TO RECOVER FROM THAT! HE GETS UP BUT HE’S WOOZY AND OUT OF IT AND IT IS OVER. WHAT A SHOT! USYK RETAINS HIS TITLES!
Official result: Oleksandr Usyk def. Tony Bellew by KO at 2:00 of round 8