Classy Usyk can dismantle Bellew

Tony Bellew has upset the odds throughout his career but the ‘Bomber’ may have bitten off more than he can chew when he faces Oleksandr Usyk in Manchester on Saturday night.

Usyk is 1.14 to claim the victory and Bellew can be backed at 5.40. The Ukrainian is clearly the heavy favourite and it is worth considering a method of victory bet to get the best value out of this cruiserweight contest.

Usyk may need the judges against to down durable Bellew

A Usyk stoppage win pays out at 1.90 but Bellew could well hear the final bell even if he is up against it for all 12 rounds.

The Liverpudlian has only been stopped once in a defeat to Adonis Stevenson five years ago.  That loss came at light heavyweight before Bellew made the step up to cruiserweight and he has since admitted he struggled to make the weight in that class. 

That was also Bellew’s last loss, the other being a majority decision defeat to Nathan Cleverley that he later avenged, and there is every chance he will avoid being stopped against Usyk.

Usyk is clearly a classy fighter, however, and the number five ranked pound-for-pound fighter by Ring Magazine should have the tools to claim a decision or technical decision win at 2.50. 

The 31-year-old dismantled Murat Gassiev in the World Boxing Super Series final to unify the division and never looked in any danger, making the Russian look average at best in the process as he took control with his superior jab from the outset.

It could be a similar story against Bellew, and Usyk is hardly a knockout specialist either despite 11 of his 15 wins in an unbeaten career coming inside the distance.  Since stepping up to the top level he has won just two of his last six fights without needing the judges and the standout bet in this clash is a points success for Usyk.

Stoppage Bellew’s only hope

If you are planning on backing the underdog the 5.40 on a Bellew win by any method may be tempting enough but the bigger price on a stoppage could be worth the risk.

Bellew has defied the pundits and experts on more than one occasion, taking out Ilunga Makabu in 2016 before claiming two wins over David Haye at heavyweight.

All three of those wins came via KO or TKO and since his loss to Stevenson, the 35-year-old has claimed eight of his 10 wins inside the distance. 

If Bellew is to cause an upset on Saturday, in what could well be his final professional fight, he will almost certainly have to claim a KO/TKO or Disqualification win at 7.00 due to his opponent’s superior skills.