Oleksandr Usyk has a lot of work to do to compete at heavyweight level, claims David Haye

BRIDGE TOO FAR?

Haye was ringside during Usyk’s world cruiserweight title defence against Tony Bellew and was unimpressed with the Ukrainian’s defence

David Haye believes Oleksandr Usyk has to make big improvements to his defence to be a successful heavyweight fighter.

Former heavyweight champ Haye was ringside during the Ukrainian’s eighth-round knockout of Tony Bellew in their crusierweight world title fight.

Usyk is still the undisputed cruiserweight champion

Usyk is still the undisputed cruiserweight champion

Usyk has said he has ambitions to to fight IBF, WBO and WBA heavyweight belt holder Anthony Joshua.

Five potential heavyweight opponents to set Usyk up for Joshua showdown

However, Haye claimed Usyk was hit too often against ‘Bomber’ Bellew, who was ahead on two of the judges scorecards before he was knocked out.

Haye, who is now Dereck Chisora’s promoter, told BoxingScene.com: “The shots he was taking against Bellew, you don’t wanna be taking those shots from a Joshua or a Deontay Wilder.

Haye was critical of Usyk’s defensive tactics against Bellew

Haye was critical of Usyk’s defensive tactics against Bellew

“His defence wasn’t as slick as I thought it was going into this fight. He was getting counter-punched, he was getting hit at range.”

WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO cruiserweight champ Usyk recently signed a deal with promoter Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing – adding to the speculation that a fight with Joshua or Dillian Whyte (who are also promoted by Hearn) could happen.

Usyk was a heavyweight at amateur level but moved down to cruiserweight as a pro.

And despite Usyk’s optimism, Haye suggested he may struggle to move up in weight due to the size of modern day heavyweights including Joshua, Wilder and Tyson Fury.

He added: “He needs to do a lot of work. He could physically do it. It is possible, because I’ve done it, Evander Holyfield’s done it.

“We are the only two fighters in history to have moved up from cruiserweight, as a champion, to heavyweight and won world titles.

“So, for me, it’s a tough ask, particularly with the modern day heavyweight being so big, being so explosive, and being so young and in their prime.

“It’s not like (Joshua) is an old guy. It’s not like it’s a John Ruiz with a title. Maybe he could beat that type of guy.

“But someone like Deontay Wilder, someone like even Tyson Fury, you’re gonna need to do something very spectacular.”

Haye believes Usyk may struggle against bigger opponents such as Joshua

Haye believes Usyk may struggle against bigger opponents such as Joshua

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Boxing – talkSPORT

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