Bellew, a former WBC cruiserweight champion, was enjoying his heavyweight adventure with David Haye when Oleksandr Usyk’s domination of the division that he left behind caught speed.
Usyk, an Olympic gold medallist from the 2012 Games in the weight category beneath Anthony Joshua, needed only 15 pro fights to pick up all four world cruiserweight titles.
The Ukrainian invaded world champions’ home countries to take their belts. He beat Krzysztof G?owacki in Poland for the WBO belt, Marco Huck in Germany to defend it, Mairis Breidis in Latvia for the WBC, then Murat Gassiev in Russia for the IBF and WBA.
In doing so, Usyk won the World Boxing Super Series tournament and became the first cruiserweight to hold four major belts. Crucially, he called out Bellew.
The Liverpudlian whose own world title dream took place at Goodison Park in 2016 had just completed back-to-back wins against Haye. Returning to his old division with higher stakes than ever is expected to be Bellew’s swansong.
What the fighters say
The ultimate goal
Oleksandr Usyk: 14st 2lbs 4oz
Tony Bellew: 14st 3lbs 5oz
The time draws near
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.