Tony Bellew looked to be on the verge of retirement after a brace of stoppage victories over British rival David Haye in his two most recent outings.
But the 35-year-old claims he would have been “haunted” had he turned down the challenge of Oleksandr Usyk, who holds the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO cruiserweight titles.
The Liverpudlian was called out by Usyk after his World Boxing Super Series triumph earlier this year.
“When he had all those four belts round his waist the first name out of his mouth was me. I couldn’t believe it, I’m genuinely still shocked,” Bellew said.
“If it was about money I could have fought a much lesser fighter and earned much more.
“I took this fight – it is the biggest challenge of my life. I’ve always known, deep down, I could become a world champion with the right scenario.
“When I left the cruiserweight division I felt I was the best cruiserweight in the world.
“Make no mistake, I could lose (tonight). If he is as good as everyone thinks he is then I could lose. I have no problem with that.
“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.”
Oleksandr Usyk vs Tony Bellew – what time are the ring walks?
The fighters are schedule to perform their ring walks at approximately 10pm GMT.
The fight itself is expected to start around 10.20pm and will be shown live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Oleksandr Usyk vs Tony Bellew undercard bouts
Anthony Crolla vs Daud Yordan (WBA lightweight title final eliminator)
Josh Kelly vs Walter Fabian Castillo (welterweight)
Ricky Burns vs Scott Cardle (lightweight)
Dave Allen vs Ariel Esteban Bracamonte (heavyweight)
Sam Hyde vs Richard Riakporhe (WBA International cruiserweight championship)
Dmytro Mytrofanov vs Gino Kanters (middleweight)
Alexandros Kartozia vs TBA (heavyweight)
Oleksandr Usyk vs Tony Bellew fighter profiles
31 – Age – 35
15 – Fights – 33
15 – Wins – 30
11 – KOs – 20
0 – Draws – 1
0 – Losses – 2
117 – Rounds boxed – 216
6ft 3in – Height – 6ft 3in
Southpaw – Stance – Orthodox
78in – Reach – 74in
14st 2lbs 4oz – Weight – 14st 3lbs 5oz