Tony Bellew says that Oleksandr Usyk must “go through me” before thinking about a heavyweight clash with WBA, WBO, IBO and IBF champion Anthony Joshua, something the Ukrainian is interested in after their 10 November cruiserweight contest.
Usyk has previously revealed he is monitoring Joshua’s career with close interest and believes the heavyweight champions is “nothing out of the ordinary”.
A fight with Joshua would be straightforward to arrange for Usyk, who joined Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing, but Bellew warns that his previous opponents have prematurely thought about their next opponents after writing him off.
"People look at me as if they think I'm a good enough name for them to qualify to fight AJ," Bellew told Sky Sports. "I don't know how they think that, but they do.
"Oleksandr Usyk will not be the first, and he possibly won't be the last. Let's just see how it goes.
"Ultimately he has to go through me. Everyone has to go through me. Let's just see how that pans out."
In his typical manner, Bellew also came out swinging against anyone that believes he does not stand a chance at beating Usyk and pointed to his previous record as a “sacrificial lamb”.
"I've been wrote off before, I'm being wrote off again," added the 35-year-old.
"More people thought I was going to get knocked out, going into the first David Haye fight, then think I can lose this fight, so it's nothing new.
"Everybody thought I was a sacrificial lamb, going into the first David Haye fight, and I proved that I wasn't.
"This is exactly the same. It looks on paper as if I haven't got a hope in hell. It's nothing new to me."
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