CONFIRMED: Aleksandr Usyk v Tony Bellew discussions begin
World Boxing News have been informed by Aleksandr Usyk’s manager Egis Klimas that conversations have begun regarding a possible fight with Tony Bellew.
Usyk, fresh from his outstanding win over Murat Gassiev on Saturday night, called out Bellew for either a cruiserweight world title bout or a debut contest at the heavyweight limit post-fight.
Bellew campaigned in the top division for his two-fight double with David Haye but has made his feelings known that a move back down isn’t out of the question.
Speaking via social media, Bellew told Usyk he was ‘born ready’ when name-dropped on ITV Box Office coverage by the highly-talented Ukrainian, with promoter Eddie Hearn then reaching out to Klimas for talks.
Those negotiations have now come to fruition after Klimas exclusively told WBN ‘Yes, we are talking about Usyk v Bellew’ when contacted directly on Monday.
It’s not yet known whether Usyk would immediately want to go the heavyweight route as Bellew is currently WBC Emeritus champion and is entitled to a shot at his old green belt whenever he chooses.
This means the pair could battle it out for, not only the WBC but the WBA, IBF and WBO belts initially – but dependent on the result – would then be able have a rematch above 200 pounds.
Should Usyk decide on the latter happening straight away, the relinquishing of his crown would be immediate and all four versions would be up for grabs for the likes of Gassiev and former opponent Mairis Briedis to battle it out for.
As both fighters are currently short on options for their next move, a high-profile contest – potentially in the UK, or stateside due to the recent Matchroom / DAZN deal – would certainly seem like the best option for Usyk and Bellew to explore.
Despite being ranked in the WBC top ten in the most lucrative of divisions, Bellew would begin a huge underdog against Usyk, who is tipped to give even Anthony Joshua a run for his money if the two-time Olympic champion can put together an undefeated heavyweight run over the next eighteen months.
Fingers are firmly crossed that Usyk v Bellew makes it further than the recent doomed Joshua v Wilder talks did.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay