By Elliot Foster (@FreelanceFoz)
Tony Bellew will hope that a win in his next fight moves him a step closer to a third world title shot.
The Liverpool cruiserweight, who has been unsuccessful against Nathan Cleverly and Adonis Stevenson on the world stage at light heavyweight, is set to challenge for the vacant European title next month.
Bellew will come up against Mateusz Masternak over 12 rounds at the O2 Arena in London on December 12, which is part of Matchroom Boxing’s ‘Bad Intentions’ card, in what is expected to be revealed as a world title eliminator.
The blockbuster bill, which is set to be aired on Sky Sports’ pay-per-view Box Office format, is headlined by the three-title heavyweight grudge match between Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte.
Chris Eubank Jr. and Gary O’Sullivan will clash on the card in what will be a final eliminator for the WBA middleweight title, while lightweight duo Luke Campbell and Kevin Mitchell are set to feature in separate contests.
“This is a make or break fight for me,” said Bellew when the announcement was made live on Sky Sports.
“Victory in this fight means a world title fight. I have to show the minerals, the guts.
“I’m predicting a war.”
Masternak, who’ll face Bellew in five weeks’ time, is 28 and has a record of 36-3 (26). He is a former European ruler in the cruiserweight division and won the vacant WBA Inter-Continental title with a two-round stoppage of Carlos Ailton Nascimento in September.
He has also faced such opposition as current WBC champion Grigory Drozd and Youri Kalenga, who he dropped a split decision against for the WBA interim title last June.
Since winning his cruiserweight debut in March, 2014, against Russia’s Valery Brudov, Bellew has won four fights on the spin including avenging his defeat to Cleverly 12 months ago.
Despite those four wins, he has yet to prove whether he can cut the mustard at the top level of the 200lb division and Poland’s Masternak should ensure that Bellew will show us whether he has such qualities.by