British cruiserweight contender, Tony Bellew (25-2-1, 16ko), attempts a credible step toward his eventual goal of a cruiserweight world title, facing Poland’s Mateusz Masternak (36-3, 26ko) on Matchroom Sport’s, Dec. 12, ‘Bad Intentions’ show from London’s O2.
Bellew’s promoter Eddie Hearn had promised that the Scouser would be in a ‘credibility fight’ on the show that is headlined by Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte’s British heavyweight title clash, and he has found a decent enough foe in Masternak, who, like Bellew, is ranked within the top 10, WBA/IBF/WBO and #15, WBC.
Bellew has routinely failed to impress since moving up to 200 lbs, following his 6th round dismantling at the hands of Adonis Stevenson in 2013, enduring a forgettable year in the ring thus far, that includes a 5th round stoppage of Latvian journeyman, Arturs Kulikauskis (16-25-5) back in September.
Make no mistake about it, he absolutely needs to look good against the Pole in December.
“I will be going in with a very tough and very durable guy [in Masternak],” Bellew told Sky Sports. “This guy pushed WBC champion Grigory Drozd all the way just before being stopped in the 11th and this is a make-or-break fight for me.”
In that fight 2 years ago, Masternak dropped his EBU 200 lb belt to Drozd, who is of course now WBC champ, though he battled through after a bad cut early and enjoyed numerous successes against the silky skilled Russian, boxing well on the back foot and finding the target comfortably at times before eventually being worn down.
Not averse to travelling, the 28 year old Pole went to the admittedly now long faded, Jean Marc Mormeck’s French backyard and out-hustled the former world champion over 10 rounds last December.
He then got robbed in South Africa back in June, dropping hometown fighter Johnny Muller twice before being screwed on the scorecards by a split decision, returning with a statement bounce-back in September, by knocking out unheralded Brazilian, Carlos Nascimento (12-2, 9ko) in 2 rounds on the Juergen Braehmer/Konni Konrad undercard in Germany.
“I am predicting a full-blown war with Mateusz Masternak because I’m not moving and I know 100 per cent, he’s not going to move either,” Bellew continued.
It’s unclear whether the fight has been sanctioned as an eliminator, or what eventual route Bellew and Hearn are choosing to pursue toward a possible world strap, although victory for the Scouser is not a foregone conclusion against the game Masternek, who is hoping to achieve his own world title goals and emulate countryman, Krysztof Glowacki, who emerged from relative obscurity earlier this year to beat dominant WBO 200 lb champ, Marco Huck and take the German’s title.
Put simply, Masternak is a definite step-up in comparison to the oft-maligned Bellew’s recent opposition, and it’s a fight he knows he must turn-up for.
“Victory means a world-title fight, simple as that,” the Scouser said. “I have to show the minerals, the guts, everything as usual and on December 12, I will do that.”