Aleksandr Usyk KOs spirited Tony Bellew with one punch in Round 8

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Undisputed cruiserweight champion Aleksandr Usyk followed his history-making victory in the World Boxing Super Series with another impressive performance, overcoming a very spirited challenge from Tony Bellew on Saturday in Manchester, England, to win by one-punch knockout in the eighth round.

With the crowd loudly behind him, Liverpool’s Bellew (30-3-1, 20 KOs), himself a former cruiserweight titleholder, was making his return to the division after stopping David Haye twice at heavyweight. His confidence swelled early as he found success with bullying lead rights and counters as the athletic Usyk probed with his less-active-than-usual southpaw jab. The Ukrainian began to open up more in Round 4, resulting in some skirmishes, but the swaggering Bellew continued to do well with counterpunching. He was also surprisingly elusive, frustrating Usyk’s attempts to land his signature combinations.

But the supremely talented Usyk’s pressure, volume and accuracy were dialed in by the eighth, and the end came suddenly with a devastating left that dropped Bellew flat on his back. Usyk defended his Ring, IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO titles with the win, his record improving to 16-0 (12 KOs).

A full report will follow.

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