Despite being a considerable underdog with the bookmakers, the 35-year-old made an encouraging start against a fighter widely regarded as among the finest in any division.
Bellew himself took to social media, thanking Usyk for the opportunity to fight him, labelling him the best he'd ever stepped into the ring with and reasserting that he went out giving his absolute best. A showdown between the undisputed cruiserweight champion and the man widely regarded as the man to beat at heavyweight seems inevitable, especially as Usyk signed a multi-fight deal with the same promotional company as Joshua earlier this year.
Joshua now has the IBF, WBA and WBO titles to his name and is keen to take down Deontay Wilder for the WBC belt to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.
"I tried my best". "I was on me honeymoon and for one reason or another I was stood there, watching Oleksandr beat up Murat Gassiev, on a mobile phone". It is him or (Evander) Holyfield - I would love to see that fight.
"If I'm being honest I got exhausted for the first time in my career". His promotion team K2 have already agreed to collaborate with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom boxing in order to broaden his horizons.
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In the front row, Prince Charles bounces Prince George on his lap as he sits next to Camilla and Princess Charlotte . The Duchess of Cambridge holds Prince Louis , who's 7 months old, in her arms.
Dereck Chisora, another man who previously had bad blood with Haye was also in shot.
Bellew, sporting welts under both eyes, said: "I've achieved all my wildest dreams, I had my Goodison Park".
And "Haymaker" was among many to offer their glowing tributes to Bellew, who ended his career having won the Commonwealth, the WBO lightheavyweight and WBC, WBO and European cruiserweight titles.
"I sit here as a loser and I feel heartbroken but I've won in life". He added: "The only thing to say is: I just want to disappear, please leave me alone". When I left school - or, rather, when I was expelled from school for hitting a kid who had disrespected a teacher - I had nothing, with nowhere to go.
"But what would have haunted me much more was if I had stayed retired, and then when he calls my name with all those belts on, if I'd walked away that would have haunted me".