Anthony Joshua may avenge Tony Bellew’s defeat
Roared on by a vocal home crowd, Bellew started like a train before eventually tiring against his Ukrainian opponent.
Usyk, by contrast, swiftly grew in confidence after the shaky start, landing the killer blow in the eighth to end the contest.
Sportsmail’s Jeff Powell did not see it that way, scoring the fight 68-65 to Usyk after seven rounds.
Of the final round, he wrote: ‘Bellew was being forced to play the part of counter-puncher and the end was nigh. Usyk finally unveiled the brilliance which puts him in the top five pund-for-pounder in the world.
“A flurry of rights was followed by staggering left. As Bellew fall back the Ukrainian went for the finish. A massive left dropped the British challenger flat on his back.
“With no hope of him rising fully the referee waved it off before finishing the ten count.’
After the fight, a tearful Bellew described his opponent as ‘exceptional’ and a ‘great champion’, also accepting that he fell short of truly matching him.
Buoyed by the high-profile victory, WBC, IBF, WBA & WBO cruiserweight champion Usyk may now attempt a tilt at the heavyweight division.
Bellew’s fellow Briton Anthony Joshua has been mentioned as one potential opponent for the Ukrainian should he choose to make the step up.