By Shaun Brown
Tony Bellew (25-2, 16 KOs) will face Mateuz Masternak (36-3, 26 KOs) in an International cruiserweight contest on December 12 in London.
The bout forms part of Matchroom Boxing’s ‘Bad Intentions’ show at the O2 Arena, headlined by the Anthony Joshua-Dillian Whyte heavyweight grudge match and also features a WBA world middleweight title final eliminator between Chris Eubank Jr. and Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan. Lightweights Kevin Mitchell and Luke Campbell are also expected to appear on the bill.
Bellew, who was working as part of the Sky Sports broadcast team for tonight’s Callum Smith-Rocky Fielding British super middleweight title clash said: "This is a make or break fight. Victory means a world title fight. I have to show the minerals, the guts. I am predicting a war."
Masternak, 28, is a former European 200lb champion and has mixed in such company as current WBC champion Grigory Drozd (losing to an 11th round TKO) two years ago as well as dropping a 12-round split decision to Youri Kalenga when challenging for the WBA interim cruiserweight title towards the end of 2014.
A former (unsuccessful) world light heavyweight title challenger to Adonis Stevenson, a fight against Masternak represents Bellew’s toughest test to date since joining the ranks of one of the sport’s most entertaining divisions.
Since his KO win over Valery Brudov, the Liverpudlian has won four fights on the spin including his revenge over former light heavyweight rival Nathan Cleverly.
Victories against Cleverly, Julio Cesar Dos Santos, Ivica Bacurin and Arturs Kulikauskis haven’t really shown whether or not the Brit has the tools to cut it in such a dangerous weight class. Masternak should provide some answers to that question next month.
Shaun Brown is Boxing Scene’s UK Editor. Follow him on Twitter @sbrown2pt0 or contact him at @[email protected] Shaun Brown