The World Boxing Super Series has created what fans have always longed for in the cruiserweight division. All the best fighters in the world fighting in a knockout style tournament in which boxing (in the cruiserweight division at least!) would crown one true champion amongst champions.
WBO champion and the man fast becoming recognised as a P4P star; Oleksandr Usyk leads the seeding and fights former cruiserweight king Marco Huck in a highly anticipated fight in Berlin, alongside undefeated WBC champion Mairis Briedis, Abel Sanchez trained IBF champion Murat Gassiev and arguably the divisions most dangerous fighter; KO artist Dimitry Kudryashov who all have quarter-finals throughout Europe. The tournament has real credibility adding to the growing admiration towards the 200-pound weight class.
Although one fighter slipped through the net. The most charismatic of the division, WBC Emirates champion Tony Bellew. But hold on he’s a heavyweight now? But is he really? After beating another cruiserweight and just telling everybody it’s a heavyweight fight, it doesn’t mean he’s a heavyweight. Especially with the other cruiserweight being injured. Now to the whole point of the article…
What is Tony Bellew waiting for and more importantly who?
You can’t blame Bellew for taking his time and not jumping into the WBSS. He’s 34, looking to get a handful of mega-ish fights for as much money as possible before he retires. Jumping into 3 fights in the next 12-18 months against the likes of Usyk and co. would be short-sighted for Bellew. Especially when he can just fight the winner at the end of it all.
Whilst 8 of the 10 best cruiserweights in the World head into the World Boxing Super Series, it leaves Tony Bellew with only WBA Champion Dennis Lebedev as an option at cruiseweight. Lebedev lost to IBF champion Murat Gassiev last year and is hardly a draw in any real promotional sense. With Bellew being a regular pay-per-view fighter in the UK in recent years, he needs big names and is willing to bend the weight to create these fights. Before his victory against David Haye, Tony Bellew claimed not to be a heavyweight. After the fight his tune changed by calling out the whole heavyweight division including Tyson Fury, Joseph Parker and Deontay Wilder, telling reporters; “I am a Heavyweight now!”.
A David Haye rematch looked to be nearing completion until recent negotiations had started to slow down. With David Haye having one eye on promotions now with his impressive Haymaker stable, he might not need the redemption from his defeat to Bellew.
WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker could be a very attractive proposition for Tony Bellew. Kiwi Parker fights Hughie Fury in Manchester on September 23rd. With Parker telling FightTalk.net “I want to be fighting in the UK, it’s where all the Heavyweights are” along with Bellew’s promoter Eddie Hearn having already had very public dialogue with Parker and his team regarding this fight. Tony Bellew fighting for a heavyweight World title against Joseph Parker in the UK would be an enormously lucrative, win-able and legacy building fight. If Parker can get past Hughie Fury in Manchester or if we get another cancellation; Joseph Parker v Tony Bellew for the WBO Heavyweight World title on Sky Box Office could be more than likely. It could even be at Goodison Park.
Fellow actor in the Movie CREED and the WBO, IBF and WBA light-heavyweight World champion Andre Ward is being considered as another strong favourite for The Bomber. Of course Bellew and Andre Ward would be likely to meet at cruiserweight with Bellew’s 175 pound days well beyond any reach. But both fighters seem to like the fight. For Ward, it gives him a great chance to become a 3 weight world champion and he’ll make more money fighting Tony Bellew than anybody else in and around his weight division. For Bellew, although he would be giving away a large gulf in boxing ability to Ward, he’s remarkably and stronger especially at Bellew’s natural weight where he has been devastating with 6 KO’s in 8 fights.
We saw in Andre Ward’s first with Kovalev that he can be hurt and Bellew would be more than capable of knocking out Ward based on that evidence. The chance to add one of this generations greatest and most talented fighters in Andre Ward to Tony Bellew’s resume on pay per view adds to the possibility of this fight. Not likely to take place in the UK, due to Andre Ward’s fear of fighting abroad, Las Vegas would be the obvious host.
Other than that it’s not really worth the Liverpudlian lacing up his gloves until the right fight for the right money comes to fruition. Heavyweight bombers Dillian Whyte and Deontay Wilder have been mentioned in recent weeks, but they are nowhere near any stage of negotiation.
For now, we will just have to wait.
By Adam Noble-Forcey