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Tony Bellew snubs Tyson Fury winner Oleksandr Usyk as most skilful boxer he's faced

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Boxing legend Tony Bellew has named the most skilful fighter he faced - and it's not the undisputed heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk.

Bellew squared off against plenty of star names throughout his career, including Usyk, who recently won all four heavyweight titles with a decision victory over Tyson Fury in May.

In the final bout of his career, 'The Bomber' attempted to take Usyk's undisputed cruiserweight crown and enjoyed some success before being stopped in the eighth round.

Usyk is undoubtedly a generational talent and many would assume that the two-weight champion was the most skilful man Bellew had been in the ring with. However, he surprisingly reserves the top spot for James DeGale, despite the pair never having an official match.

"Usyk was up there, but I've got to say my old mate, James DeGale," Bellew told DAZN. "Me and 'Chunky' were close all the way through our careers and I'd sparred him when we were both amateurs and also when I needed tough southpaw sparring.

"He could do it all in the ring and he was as tough as anything too. He showed that during his own career as look what he achieved. A proper quality fighter."

DeGale won gold at the 2008 Olympics before turning pro. He had two spells as IBF super-middleweight champion, making three defences, before eventually hanging up his gloves in 2019.

HAVE YOUR SAY! What was the best fight of Tony Bellew's career? Tell us in the comments section below

Bellew named James DeGale instead of Usyk (
Image:
James Chance/Getty Images)

Bellew traded punches with other formidable names like David Haye and Nathan Cleverly, but was full of praise for Usyk. The former WBC cruiserweight champion was ahead on the scorecards until the Ukrainian found a solution, and he expects Fury to face a similar problem in their rematch.

"He figures the problem out while he's on the job. And that's what's so impressive," Bellew said, reflecting on their own bout. "He never expected me, when I fought him, to box him.

"He 100 per cent thought I was coming in for the kill and I was going to try and take him out. And by me boxing him, it took him back a little bit, and he didn't know what to do at the time.

"But he figured it out after seven rounds. I was ahead on the cards (68-65, 67-66 and 67-67) and in that seventh round he figured me out. Okay, it took him seven rounds, but he did. And then he turned the screw. Fury can't change what he does.

"It's not like he creates a completely different style. When I fought Usyk, I created a completely different style to counterpunch the counterpuncher. I have got a good boxing brain, and he is the only f***** to figure me out."

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