Home Boxing News Chris Billam-Smith locked in to make first defence of WBO cruiserweight belt...

Chris Billam-Smith locked in to make first defence of WBO cruiserweight belt against Mateusz Masternak

Chris Billam-Smith. Photo credit: Lawrence Lustig

WBO cruiserweight champion Chris ‘The Gentleman’ Billam-Smith 18-1 (12) will make the maiden defence of his title against Polish veteran Mateusz ‘Master’ Masternak 47-5 (31) at Bournemouth International Centre in Bournemouth, England on October 10.

The 33-year-old Brit won the WBO belt with a 12-round majority decision victory over Lawrence ‘The Sauce’ Okolie 19-1 (14) in a scrappy fight in May.

In that fight Okolie was down once in the fourth, 10th and 11th rounds and deducted one point for holding in the fifth and seventh. Billam-Smith, who was cut over the left eye, eventually prevailed by scores of 116-107, 112-112 and 115-108.

Billam-Smith will be hoping to put on a prettier exhibition against the experienced Masternak.

“Mateusz Masternak is a superb fighter, he’s proved that throughout his career,” Billam-Smith said. “He’s got double the amount of fights that I have – he’s actually got more KO wins than I have fights – and his only losses are at the very top level.

“His style matches well with mine and I think it’s going to be a very exciting fight, I’m really looking forward to it.”

The 36-year-old Masternak will be having his first fight in more than a year. His last outing was a 12-round unanimous decision win over Australian Jason ‘Warrior’ Whateley 10-1 (9) in Zakopane, Poland last October. He won by scores of 119-108, 117-110 and 118-109.

The victory in the IBF eliminator put Masternak in line to face IBF and Ring Magazine champion Jai Opetaia 23-0 (18) of Australia but he withdrew from the purse bid process to pursue a shot at the WBO belt instead.

Masternak has had mixed fortune on the road. While he has won away from home, all five of his losses have come in foreign countries, including on his one trip to England when Tony Bellew 30-3-1 (20) outpointed him in their European title fight eight years ago.

Masternak sees the Billam-Smith fight as an opportunity to fulfil a lifelong dream.

“I think Chris Billam-Smith is a very good boxer,” Masternak said. “He showed his warrior soul in his last fight and proved that he deserves to be champion. I have a lot of respect for him in that way, but I believe more in my skills and my experience.

“I’ve been dreaming of the world championship since I started boxing. My boxing journey has been like a movie, all the highs and lows. I hope in December we get the best scene. I’m looking forward to fighting in England again, the fans create a great atmosphere there.“

Ben Shalom, founder and CEO of promoter Boxxer, said: “Chris Billam-Smith wanted his first defence of the WBO to be a big crowd-pleaser of a fight in his home town.

“Mateusz Masternak ticks all the boxes. He’s ranked number five in the world, he’s got a ton of experience and he rarely takes a backwards step. He’s a very dangerous opponent and Billam-Smith is taking a serious risk here.”