Former WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew believes old rival Oleksandr Usyk will achieve great success when he moves up to heavyweight.
Usyk defeated Bellew by TKO8 in defence of his undisputed cruiserweight crown last November before his planned move up in weight.
The 32-yer-old Ukrainian southpaw was expected to make his heavyweight debut against Carlos Takam in the spring before withdrawing due to injury. The fight is expected to be rescheduled for later in the year.
In an interview with World Boxing News Bellew said he had high hopes for Usyk at heavyweight.
“He was an absolutely fantastic champion at cruiserweight, one of the very best,” said Bellew, who hung up his gloves after the loss to Usyk.
“Judging by his ambitions so far in his professional career, I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t make a big impact up at heavyweight because he certainly has the ability.”
Bellew rates Usyk’s ring IQ above that of Tyson Fury.
“In terms of skill, he’s head and shoulders above most of the other guys. Tyson Fury has a lot of skill, but I think Usyk might just be that little bit better schooled,” Bellew said.
“My only concern is his actual size. If you put him with the guys who are around the 6-foot-3 mark, then I think he has a lot of fun with them. But the bigger guys are going to be a problem. The bulk of them can punch as well.
“If you’re putting him in with someone like Deontay Wilder, you have to wonder what it’s going to be like when he lands on him.
“I think he’s definitely a good addition and that he’ll have success there, but the top two or three guys might just have a bit too much.”
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