Tony Bellew says Oleksandr Usyk must first “go through me” before he can even think about a heavyweight showdown with Anthony Joshua.
The Ukrainian has admitted he is following Joshua’s career with interest, but refused to look beyond his upcoming battle with Bellew for all the world cruiserweight titles at Manchester Arena on November 10, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
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A future fight with unified heavyweight champion Joshua appears more likely after Usyk signed a multi-fight deal with Matchroom Boxing, although Bellew thinks he is making the same mistake as former opponent David Haye, who also set his sights on ‘AJ’.
Ultimately he has to go through me. Everyone has to go through me.
“People look at me as if they think I’m a good enough name for them to qualify to fight AJ,” Bellew exclusively told 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.”
Usyk, a 2012 Olympic gold medallist, has swiftly earned recognition as one of the world’s best professional fighters, collecting all four titles in just 15 bouts.
But his revered status does not deter Bellew, who was also branded an underdog before his first stunning victory over Haye at heavyweight in March 2017.
“I’ve been wrote off before, I’m being wrote off again,” said the 35-year-old.
“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.
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“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.”
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.
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