WBC, WBA, WBO, IBF cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk (15-0, 11 KOs) has made it no secret that he wants to secure a crack at Anthony Joshua by the end of 2019.
Joshua, who holds the WBO, WBA, IBF, IBO heavyweight titles, is promoted by Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport.
In order to inch closer to a future Joshua showdown, Usyk himself signed a multi-fight deal with the British promoter.
And before he makes the expected decision to move up to heavyweight, Usyk will defend his titles against one of Hearn’s star fighters – former WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew.
Bellew, who got knocked out at 175 by Adonis Stevenson, has made an unexpected top-tier run as a cruiserweight and even defied the long odds by moving up to heavyweight to win back to back fights, by knockout, over David Haye.
Bellew will challenge Usyk at Manchester Arena on November 10, live on Sky Sports Box Office and DAZN.
And he’s confident that Usyk will never make it to Joshua.
“People look at me as if they think I’m a good enough name for them to qualify to fight AJ,” Bellew stated to Sky Sports. “I don’t know how they think that, but they do. Oleksandr Usyk will not be the first, and he possibly won’t be the last. Let’s just see how it goes. Ultimately he has to go through me. Everyone has to go through me. Let’s just see how that pans out.
“More people thought I was going to get knocked out, going into the first David Haye fight, then think I can lose this fight, so it’s nothing new. Everybody thought I was a sacrificial lamb, going into the first David Haye fight, and I proved that I wasn’t.
“This is exactly the same. It looks on paper as if I haven’t got a hope in hell. It’s nothing new to me.”