Bellew, a former WBC cruiserweight champion, retired in 2018 after challenging Usyk for the division’s undisputed titles. Usyk stopped the Briton in the eighth round, before moving up to heavyweight and ultimately becoming unified champion.
The unbeaten Ukrainian still holds the unified belts at heavyweight and has signed a contract to box WBC champion Tyson Fury in 2024, with the winner set to become the first undisputed title holder at heavyweight since 2000. However, Bellew has suggsested that Usyk’s run at cruiserweight could remain his defining achievement.
“That kid’s the greatest cruiserweight that’s ever lived,” Bellew told The Matchroom Boxing Podcast this week. “There’s not a cruiserweight that would beat Oleksandr Usyk in the history of the sport, I don’t care who you are. Evander Holyfield, [Usyk] would have figured him out and [Holyfield] wouldn’t have caught him.”
Usyk, 36, remains the only undisputed cruiserweight champion in the history of the four-belt era. The southpaw moved up to heavyweight in 2019, beating Chazz Witherspoon before outpointing Derek Chisora in 2020.
Usyk, who won gold at the 2012 Olympics, then took the unified titles from Anthony Joshua with a decision win in 2021, and he repeated the trick in 2022 to retain the belts.
This August, Usyk stopped Daniel Dubois to seal yet another win over a Briton, and to move a step closer to a long-awaited clash with Fury. That contest is signed to take place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, before the end of March.
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