Chris Billam-Smith to Defend WBO Belt From Mateusz Masternak
In 2023, Chris “The Gentleman” Billam-Smith (18-1, 12KOs) accomplished his lifelong dream of becoming a world champion. Now he’s on the verge finalizing a deal for his first world title defense against Mateusz Masternak (47-5, 31KOs). According to Ring Magazine, December 16 is the targeted date in the champion’s home country of Great Britain.
The Gentleman won the WBO cruiserweight title with a majority decision victory over Lawrence Okolie in May 2023. Following that fight, there was talk of an immediate rematch. But that will not be the case, as the champion is going in a different direction.
TAKING A DIFFERENT ROUTE
Instead, he will face Masternak, currently ranked fifth by the WBO and ninth by the WBC. The Polish southpaw made headlines earlier this year when he turned down an opportunity to face reigning IBF champion Jai Opetaia. It is now clear that Masternak bypassed Opetaia in favor of a fight with the WBO champion.
The 36-year-old Masternak is on a six-fight winning streak following a unanimous decision defeat to former IBF cruiserweight champion Yuniel Dorticos in October 2018 in the World Boxing Super Series Cruiserweight Tournament quarterfinals.
This is a voluntary defense for Billam-Smith. If he is successful against Masternak, his next title defense will come against the WBO mandatory cruiserweight challenger Richard Riakporhe.