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Undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk calls out Tony Bellew after victory over Murat Gassiev in WBSS final

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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Newly-crowned undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk 15-0 (11) has wasted little time in calling out former world titleholder Tony “Bomber” Bellew 30-2-1 (20) after adding Murat Gassiev’s IBF and WBA straps to his WBO and WBC belts in Russia on Saturday night.

The 31-year-old Ukrainian southpaw put on a dominant display in the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) final, winning virtually every round against Russia’s Gassiev 26-1 (19) to claim the inaugural Muhammad Ali Trophy. The scores at the conclusion of the 12-round bout were 120-118, 119-109 and 119-109, all for Usyk.

Speaking after the fight Usyk said: “I heard that Tony Bellew wants to fight the winner of the Muhammad Ali Trophy. I hope he sees me talking.

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“Hey, Tony Bellew, are you ready?”

Usyk even made a concession to Bellew, saying that the fight could happen at heavyweight if the “Bomber” doesn’t want to boil himself back down to 200-pounds where he hasn’t fought since defeating American BJ Flores by TKO3 in the first defence of his WBC cruiserweight crown almost two years ago.

“I will eat extra spaghetti for dinner,” Usyk added.

In a column for the BBC last week the 35-year-old Liverpudlian revealed he would be willing to return to the 200-pound weight class for a high profile bout after back-to-back victories over former world champion and domestic rival David Haye at heavyweight.

“If I fight Usyk or Gassiev I could be the only British fighter ever to hold all four world belts at once. Lennox Lewis didn’t even do it and I love the sound of it. But that would be a very hard, damaging fight. It would have to be the last fight of my career,” wrote Bellew before the Usyk versus Gassiev fight.

“If it’s Gassiev I envisage having to get up off the floor, if it’s Usyk I have to ride through a storm at some stage.

“If I fight [Tyson] Fury, I could fight again as I don’t think it will be hard to beat him and that one fight could potentially earn five times more than Usyk or Gassiev. It’s just plain stupid to not think about that.”

Through the course of the almost year-long WBSS, Usyk and Gassiev have effectively cleaned out the 200-pound cruiserweight division between them.

The only other notable name left other than Bellew is ageing Russian southpaw Denis Lebedev 30-2 (22) who hasn’t fought since defeating Australian Mark Flanagan on points a year ago.

In December 2016 Gassiev, 24, won a split points decision over Lebedev, who will turn 39 next month.

 

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