For the first time in history, all of the world cruiserweight titles will be on the line and Mikael Lawal is the man best placed to pick a winner
Oleksandr Usyk has the upper hand against Tony Bellew according to the only boxer to have ever sparred both men.
Bellew will roll the dice for one last fight against the undefeated, undisputed Ukrainian many believe is the greatest to ever grace the cruiserweight division.
Mikael Lawal may not be the most high-profile name in the 200-pound division, but the Shepherd’s Bush native holds the distinction of sharing the ring with both men.
The clash, which is set for November 10 in Manchester, is one of those fascinating contests which poses more questions than answers.
The general consensus seems to be the reigning cruiserweight king will outbox Bellew for 12 rounds or the Liverpudlian will land a devastating left hook to end his reign.
However, Lawal is best placed to make a prediction and tipped Usyk to continue to dominate the division.
He told iFL TV: “I’ve sparred both guys and, I’m going to lie to you, when I sparred Usyk there definitely was a lot of schooling.
“I did get used to it but, at the same time, I think because he was a Southpaw it was a bit harder for me.
“So when I sparred Bellew…he’s actually got a bit of a punch as well so I don’t think a lot of people know that.”
The 31-year-old defeated Murat Gassiev in the World Boxing Super Series final to become the first man in history to hold all four cruiserweight titles and the last man to unify the division since Evander Holyfield.
Considered by many to be one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world, he has also spent time jn the amateur ranks as a tricky heavyweight.
With his intention to move up in his professional career as well, Lawal revealed the main differences between both men ahead of their title fight.
“With Usyk it was hard, technically,” he continued.
“He hasn’t really got a mad amount of power but technically he just keeps going.
“Tony has got a lot of experience so I’m not sure how he’s going to deal with that. He will probably deal with it a lot differently.”
Bellew also has heavyweight experience with the former WBC champion recording back-to-back victories against David Haye in the past 18 months.
The ‘Bomber’ promised an emphatic win in the rematch with his British rival and duly delivered with a fifth-round mauling after leaving former two-weight champion flat on his backside on three occasions.
And while many cannot see him landing with the same power and devastation against Usyk, Lawal has warned those who wrote him off before to not make the same mistake.
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He added: “From what I’ve seen, from what I’ve experienced, I would say Usyk does have a bit of the upper hand.
“But, at the same time, I’m not going to put Bellew down because I’ve done that in the past against David Haye.
“I believe Bellew can do something and I would prefer Bellew to win.”