We analyse the credentials and statistics of WBO cruiserweight champion Chris Billam-Smith and Mateusz Masternak as the pair get set for their hotly-anticipated world title showdown in Bournemouth in December.
After experiencing the highest of highs in May Chris Billam-Smith now faces one of the toughest tasks in boxing!
No, not overcoming his next opponent Mateusz Masternak; but instead keeping hold of the prized WBO cruiserweight title he won against Lawrence Okolie earlier this year.
A storybook ending came together for ‘The Gentleman’ after years of dreaming of fighting outdoors at AFC Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium.
A pleasant spring evening in the south coast was made all the better for the thousands of fans supporting their local hero as he overcame illness and friend and former training partner Okolie to be victorious.
Billam-Smith’s first defence was expected to be a rematch against Okolie, but their first encounter wasn’t one to remember which may have prompted TV bosses to place Okolie in the queue and divert Billam-Smith’s attention to an opponent with a more fan-friendly style...
Enter Mateusz Masternak.
On December 10th, inside the Bournemouth International Centre, these two pressure fighters will likely be within punching range throughout, but who will triumph.
Let’s look at the Tale of the Tape...
|18-1 (12 KO's)
|47-5 (31 KO's)
|Won - (MD) v Lawrence Okolie (May 2023)
|Won - (UD) v Jason Whateley (October 2022)
The emergence of Chris Billam-Smith as a genuine cruiserweight force in recent years has also doubled up as one of the sport’s feel-good stories.
He may be one of boxing’s nice guys, but he has also shown what hard work and learning can do for a fighter when original career expectations were low.
Much like his fighting style, CBS has grafted and hustled to earn his spot as one of the four champions at cruiserweight.
With Ben Shalom and Sky fully behind the 33-year-old, Bournemouth has become an unlikely destination for boxing on the subscription service. Billam-Smith’s fans are turning up in thousands and selling out venues making it a regular destination for Sky Sports cameras.
Mateusz Masternak is a title defence which passes the credibility test and should be one which makes the Brit look good at times.
But it could also be described as a banana skin and not a foregone conclusion. Billam-Smith has overcome the odds time and time again and not even a bout of sickness could stop him becoming world champion.
December 10th is a stop-off in the career of Billam-Smith!
An early Christmas party for his followers because next year he will very much be in the sights of fellow champions such as Jai Opetaia and contenders like Richard Riakporhe, who remains the only man to have ever beaten the popular cruiser.
|Lack of head movement
|Footwork isn't the best
|fights at one pace
Remarkably despite having 52 fights in a career spanning 17 years Mateusz Masternak will be fighting for a world title for the first time in December.
The Polish veteran, now 42, has taken on and lost to eventual world champions Grigory Drozd and Tony Bellew, and himself won the European title but an opportunity at world honours has never come his way.
Always in great condition, a 12-round fighter and in possession of a good chin Masternak can be an immovable object.
Put dents in him, however, force him to survive on the back foot and make his night’s work uncomfortable from the get-go then your chances of winning increase.
Against Billam-Smith there will be times when Masternak, who will already be in hostile territory, will have to dig deep and withstand heavy shots if he is to create his own happy ending.
One thing is for sure if Billam-Smith doesn’t put him away then he will be made to work extremely hard in his first title defence.
|Offers an easy target
|Boxing on the back foot
Full Fight Markets
All odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of writing and are subject to fluctuation.