Oleksandr Usyk appeared unbeatable while winning all four world cruiserweight titles, but The Panel analyse whether any weaknesses can be exploited by Tony Bellew…
The Ukrainian has shown barely any signs of vulnerability ahead of Saturday’s fight with Bellew at Manchester Arena, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
But the Merseysider firmly believes he has the winning formula to end Usyk’s 15-fight unbeaten record when the first bell rings this weekend.
We asked our panel of experts to reveal whether they have seen any frailties in the formidable champion…
Maybe experience. He’s never really been put in a scenario where he’s had to go looking for a fight. He’s used to kind of already starting the fight with a two or three-point lead, in terms of everybody expects him to win. Very few fights, have people expected him to lose, because he was such a good amateur.
Even at heavyweight, he’s beaten real big names as an amateur, so going down to cruiserweight, he’s used to fighting heavier guys, and he’s held his own. He’s always been very difficult and tricky to nail down.
I definitely think he has the attributes to be a very awkward night for Tony, but having said all that, Tony’s left hook is the equaliser. If Tony can land that left hook to the head, that left hook to the body, he can really get a foothold in this fight and turn the tide.
No one is perfect, but we haven’t really seen any weaknesses in Usyk yet. He is the complete boxer and so far, he hasn’t put a foot wrong. Technically the only thing I have seen is that he sometimes drops his hands a bit too low, but there is a reason for that. He does it to try and draw people in, so he can counter them.
It’s not a weakness, but maybe the only way we will see any is if Bellew can do the same, somehow getting him to lead, for him to come in and then counter him. I think we’ll all be looking closely at Usyk, just to see if he is as good as we think.
Usyk’s biggest problem will be his inexperience. Not when it comes to the occasion, but what actually happens when the bell sounds. I’m sure Tony will try and lure him into traps, and because he carries so much respect, this might be the time that Usyk falls for them.
A great example came in the first fight with David Haye – Tony was throwing a jab but then turned it into a left hook and it took David a while to work that out. In the second one, Bellew knew that wouldn’t work, so stepped it up. Usyk might not read the signs straight away, and his lack of experience could be a big issue.
You know what, that’s the problem with this fight – I can’t see a weakness. When you look at somebody who is so technically proficient, he’s got a great defence, a good offence, clever head movement, that amateur pedigree, and he’s unbeaten, you can’t find a weakness.
I’m kind of hoping that he can’t hold a heavy shot, but you cannot say whether he’s suspect around the chin, because he’s never been badly hurt in his professional career.
His all-round boxing ability is phenomenal, footwork is unbelievable, hand speed is brilliant, head movement and defence are very good. But if there’s one weakness, then maybe he lacks that punch power. That’s probably his weakest area.
It’s not that he’s a light puncher, but he lacks the same punch power as Bellew. Usyk is talking about this move up to heavyweight, so is he struggling at cruiserweight? Is that affecting his punch power? If he’s not a concussive puncher at cruiserweight, then he could find it tougher at heavyweight, but his boxing skills could carry him through.
Watch Usyk vs Bellew for the undisputed cruiserweight title, at Manchester Arena, on November 10, live on Sky Sports Box Office, from 6pm. Book it online here.
Even if you aren’t a Sky TV subscriber you can book and watch it at skysports.com/boxofficelive.