Tony Bellew beaten in eighth round by Oleksandr Usyk, admits he's 'greatest man I've fought'
Tony Bellew was stopped in the eighth round by Oleksandr Usyk as his dream of becoming undisputed cruiserweight champion ended in Manchester.
The 35-year-old, who stated before the fight that he would retire whatever the outcome, made a fast start and was ahead on two of the judges' scorecards - by three rounds and one round - with the third marking it as all square.
Oleksandr Usyk knocks out Tony Bellew to win the fightReuters
However, Usyk's power was too much for the Liverpudlian, and he knocked him down in round eight before referee Terry O'Connor cut short the count before getting to ten.
It means the Ukrainian retains the WBC, IBF, WBA and WBO belts to remain undisputed champion.
Bellew hit by UsykEurosport
Despite the defeat, which signals his retirement, Bellew was magnanimous. He said: “I gave it my best. Make sure you clap him – he deserves everything.
" He beat me fair and square, no excuses. He’s an amazing fighter and the greatest man I’ve ever shared a ring with."
“I tried to get him, but I didn’t even know which round it was. I fought the best and he’s just better than me.”