Tony Bellew vs Oleksandr Usyk HospitalityView 30 photos
James Degale & Matthew Macklin
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We were thrilled to work with Team Bellew to provide hospitality at his huge world title clash with the brilliant Ukranian Oleksandr Usyk at Manchester Arena. With all four major Cruiserweight belts on the line, this was a chance for Bellew to become the unified champion at the weight, but his formidable opponent came into the contest as a hot favourite against the man from Liverpool.
Our pre-fight hospitality took place in the Medici Ballroom at the Manchester Renaissance Hotel, just a few minutes’ walk from the Arena. We were delighted to welcome two-time former super-middleweight world champion James DeGale as our VIP guest before dinner, and it was a pleasure to hear his thoughts on the big fight and hear of his own plans to win another a world title.
After a cracking three course dinner, and with the complimentary bar having taken a beating of its own, guests departed for the very short stroll to the Arena. It was a thrilling undercard with big wins for Ricky Burns and another local favourite in Anthony Crolla, with both men building towards world title shots of their own.
The main event itself did not disappoint, with an incredibly gutsy performance by Bellew. Most judges had the bout even, with some even having Bellew slightly ahead as the fight entered the second half. But the punishing pace Bellew had set himself started to tell in the 7th as a brilliant Usyk upped the tempo. With the Liverpool legend visibly tiring, Usyk finally nailed ‘The Bomber’ with a fearsome left cross shot which left our man prostrate through the ropes. Bellew was unable to recover from the brutal blow as the referee called time on the fight.
A typically generous appraisal of his opponent from the gallant Bellew followed, hailing the Ukranian as a true world class fighter and the very best he had faced. ‘The Bomber’ announced his retirement, and so the curtain was brought down on a fantastic career from a fighter who never shirked a single challenge.
Our guests returned to the Renaissance buzzing, having witnessed something special. A few drinks were enjoyed along with the post-fight buffet, and it was great hear the post-fight thoughts of former British and European middleweight champion Matthew Macklin, who had been on Sky Boxing only a short time earlier as a fight analyst. We really look forward to working with Tony Bellew in the future as an a big-fight analyst at one of our boxing events!