Home Boxing News Chris Billam-Smith expecting tough challenge from perennial contender Mateusz Masternak

Chris Billam-Smith expecting tough challenge from perennial contender Mateusz Masternak

Chris Billam-Smith and Mateusz Masternak. Photo credit: Boxxer

WBO cruiserweight champion Chris ‘The Gentleman’ Billam-Smith 18-1 (12) is expecting Mateusz ‘Master’ Masternak 47-5 (31) to throw everything at him when he defends his world title for the first time at the Bournemouth International Centre in Bournemouth, England on Sunday.

The 36-year-old Polish veteran has fought future world champions Tony Bellew, Yuniel Dorticos and Grigory Drozd but has never contested a world title in his 52 fight, 17-year pro career.

Britain’s Billam-Smith, 33, is expecting Masternak to make the most of the opportunity.

“It makes for an intriguing fight,” Billam-Smith told Sky Sports. “I know what position he’s in. I know how hungry he’s going to be for this fight.

“Realistically, this is his only and probably last chance at a world title so he’s going to be giving it absolutely everything.

“He will leave everything in the ring. So I’ve got to be willing to do the same.

“We’ll see who comes out on top.”

Despite this fight likely being the last roll of the dice for Masternak, Billam-Smith says he is well prepared to deal with anything that comes his way.

“I always train with an intensity in all my boxing work and I think that’s something that I’ve built up from when I was an amateur. I’ve always trained at a high pace and always dug deep so it’s not hard to go to that place,” Billam-Smith said.

“Because I spend so much of time there in training. So it’s not hard to have to dig deep if I need to.”

Billam-Smith sized up his opponent when they first met at a press conference to announce the fight.

“He’s really well built. Thick arms. Huge neck. You never really see him out of shape when he’s outside camp or anything like that. He’s super experienced as well, so he’s got that behind him,” Billam-Smith said.

“As long as I’ve had a full camp I’ve always prepared as diligently as I can and prepared for the very best version of everyone.

“My work rate and my punch power and my speed, I’ve got to focus a lot on what I do well as what he does really well.

“It’s not a fight that you can take lightly. He’s one of those guys where if you take him lightly he’ll definitely beat you and that’s how it should be.

“It’s a world title defence. No fight’s going to be easy so it’s about preparing perfectly for this and getting in a good performance.”

Billam-Smith won the WBO belt in an ugly fight against former gym-mate Lawrence ‘The Sauce’ Okolie 19-1 (14) by majority decision in May with scores of 116-107, 112-112 and 115-108.

Okolie was down once in the fourth, 10th and 11th rounds and was deducted one point for holding in the fifth and seventh.