With his mouth-watering clash with tough Pole, Mateusz Masternak, approaching quickly on the horizon, Liverpool cruiserweight, Tony Bellew is under no illusions that his world class opponent is likely to be his toughest foe since moving north a division following a decorated spell at 175lbs.
The vacant European title is at stake when the pair clash on this weekend’s Sky PPV offering headlined by heavyweight rivals Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte but many within the industry are certain that this clash of powerful punchers will steal the show. Bellew, along with trainer, Dave Coldwell, has left no stone unturned in preparation for Masternak and he’s in bullish mood ahead of his latest challenge.
“It’s the perfect opportunity to send a message out to all the leading cruiserweights,” buzzed Bellew. “Masternak has a daunting reputation for a reason and it’s because he knows how to have a fight. Barring Adonis Stevenson away in Canada, this is probably my toughest assignment to date but it’s going to be the fight where I leave a lasting impression and go home with the European title. Victory here puts me within touching distance of one of the world champions and with the way I’ve been feeling in camp then I think I’m more than ready to make that step now. I’m under no illusions about the task that’s ahead of me because Masternak always gives a good account of himself but this is a fight I simply won’t lose.”
Masternak’s cruiserweight slate is an impressive one with defeats either coming against elite opposition or bewildering judgement. Setbacks against Grigory Drozd and Youri Kalenga were competitive ones whilst a split decision loss to Johnny Muller in South Africa saw Masternak register two knockdowns. The Pole comes into this fight trying to recapture the title he held briefly in 2012 but Bellew is adamant that his opponent will go home empty handed.
“What he’s done in the division is worthy of respect but it always shows that he’s capable of losing by a variety of ways as he’s been outfought, outpointed and he’s also been stopped. He can be hurt and he can be outboxed and I fully believe that I’ve got the skills and power to do either to him. I’ve yet to lose since moving to cruiserweight and I’ve always said that I’d make an impact in the division and this is my chance to do so against a good opponent. I’m more than ready for anyone at this weight but the immediate focus is on Masternak. Once I’ve done a job on him then we can start looking at the bigger prizes.”