Mateusz Masternak Interview: “I am not going to show any mercy”
By Anson Wainwright, MaxBoxing (May 30, 2012) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © Lukasz Furman)
Mateusz Masternak
Recently, Polish cruiserweight contender Mateusz Masternak took part in his third outing of 2012 when he widely outpointed tough British journeymen Hari Miles. The bout took place in Copenhagen, Denmark as chief support to Mikkel Kessler vs. Allan Green. The 25-year-old, dubbed “Master,” has kept himself busy whilst maintaining his sharpness, stopping his five previous opponents prior to going the distance with Miles. The win took Masternak’s record to 27-0 (20) and has reinforced very real aspirations of challenging for a world title later this year. Currently, he's ranked in the top 10 by all four sanctioning bodies, number 10 by the WBC, eight by the WBA and four by both the IBF and WBO as well as number 10 by The Ring magazine. 
Anson Wainwright - Can you tell us about your recent win against Hari Miles?

Mateusz Masternak - Similarly to my corner, I'm very happy with the performance against Miles. In the ring, I felt myself very well, although Hari was very tough, demanding, tall, left-handed and uncomfortable. It was definitely a valuable experience – 10 rounds in good pace. What's more, my current target is a fight for the European championship against Alexander Alekseev, who's also a southpaw. If I get this chance, Hari Miles would be a great sparring partner. I'm sure I made a few mistakes during the fight and should have avoided several unwanted punches but, in general, I'm satisfied. I hope the fight was quite spectacular and my fans enjoyed watching it.
AW - Before the Miles fight, you met Felipe Romero and stopped him in the final round of the contest. What can you tell us about that fight?
MM - I'm glad with my performance. I boxed practically the whole distance. It was the next good experience. Romero turned out to be very tough and solid – the better opponent, the more I am happy after a victory.

AW - Though it's early days for you, what are you looking at next? What are your plans for 2012? Are you targeting anyone in particular or will you improve your world rankings further, challenge for a world title?
MM - I don't have any specified aim for 2012. I want to be busy and definitely, I am busy in this year. I want to box frequently, to develop my skills, to fight against still better and better rivals. However, if there is a chance to fight for the cruiserweight championship of the world, I would definitely like to take advantage of it. I have good advisors - my personal team with my coach, Andrzej Gmitruk, and promoters Wilfried and Kalle Sauerland. They know perfectly how to conduct their fighters’ careers and I trust them absolutely. I'm certain they will lead me to big fights.
AW - There’s a rumour you may fight on the 14 July David Haye-Dereck Chisora undercard.

MM - I don't know yet. Everything can happen. I've been very busy recently – three fights in a short period and, finally, I plan to take a two-week rest. After that, I will start training again. Probably I'll come to Germany to spar and if I feel myself right, maybe I will fight on July 14. However, right now, we think that a further date, August 25 for instance, would be more convenient.

AW - What are your thoughts and comments on the cruiserweight division including the current champions Krzysztof Wlodarczyk of the WBC, Guillermo Jones of the WBA, Yoan Pablo Hernandez and Marco Huck of the WBO and The Ring magazine?

MM - Krzysztof Wlodarczyk is rather a static fighter who can hit a rival really hard. I think that his boxing style would fit me and if there is an opportunity to face him, I would take it with pleasure. I'm sure the fight would interest Polish fans.
It's hard to determine if Guillermo Jones is still an active fighter. However, he's really solid and experienced. I'm not sure if he still wants to box. He fights once in two years so I find it strange that he's still a world champion.
In January, I had an opportunity to spar with Yoan Pablo Hernandez and it was visible that he had a lot of fights in his amateur career. He is good, very experienced and he has very good timing. He's tall and left-handed, which makes it uncomfortable to fight with him. I even bet one of my colleagues that Hernandez would knock Steve Cunningham out in their rematch. Yoan Pablo hits really precisely and I had known that he will shoot USS” in a certain moment.
Marco Huck is really strong physically. In his last fight against Ola Afolabi, he proved again that his right hand is very strong. I also had an occasion to spar with him in January and I learned that he's very uncomfortable. He has a tight guard and it's tough to hit him precisely. In my opinion, currently, he's the number one [fighter] in the cruiserweight division.

AW - Three of your first four pro fights were in America, can you tell us about this and what happened? Also is fighting in America, like Tomasz Adamek does now, something you want to do in the future or are you happy fighting in Europe?

MM - It was in 2006. One of my co-promoters, Jacek Galara, lived in the USA and had a good relationship with [8 Count Productions President] Dominic Pesoli and I had some performances during some events. Presently, it makes no sence for a cruiserweight to move out to the USA because the best boxers of this division are fighting in Europe. In my opinion, TVs in the USA are making a big mistake not promoting the cruiserweight division. Let's look at the past; the best boxers were, as far as sizes, the cruiserweights. Currently, the heavyweight division is really boring. Let's look at the last cruiserweight fights. Hernandez-Cunningham II and Huck-Afolabi II – they were at the world level. First and foremost, we had big emotions in these two bouts. In the heavyweight division, fights of Klitschkos and so on, there are no such emotions.

AW - Can you tell us about your amateur career, what tournaments you won, who you fought then who is a pro now and what your final record was?

MM - My amateur career was really short – it took only 2.5 years. I was the Poland junior champion and the silver medallist of Senior Championships of Poland. I came to the European Championships but I lost in the quarterfinal. In Poland, there is a significant crisis in amateur boxing so I had to look for serious stunts in professional boxing.

AW - Could you tell us a little about yourself as a person and your life away from boxing, your homelife, interests and hobbies, businesses?

MM - Besides the ring, I have a wide range of interests. Firstly, I try to be the best human I could be. I try not to move boxing to my private life. However, sometimes it is hard because boxing is also my big passion. I am interested in the history of boxing. I read a lot of old articles. I watch a lot of old fights. I am a family man. I was 20 when I stepped into marriage. I was rising up in a family of many children, so my life has been always not easy. That's why my character is strong and none of my future rivals will be able to break it.

AW - Growing up, what fighters did you like to watch and who do you enjoy watching today?

MM - When I was young, my first boxing idol, similarly to many of my peers, was Andrew Golota. His fights were my first inspiration to start boxing. In 1996, I was watching Golota's big fight against Riddick Bowe live – I was nine then. Unfortunately, I was living in a village and the closest boxing club was 40 kilometres from my home. I had to grow up before I started to go to a gym myself.
Currently, my favourite boxers are Floyd Mayweather Jnr. and Manny Pacquiao. They both deserve huge respect. I am also impressed by performances of Bernard Hopkins. He contradicts the statement that boxing is a sport only for young people. In my opinion, the last of the big fighters was Evander Holyfield. My biggest boxing idol was obviously Muhammad Ali.

AW – Finally, do you have a message for the cruiserweight division?

MM - (laughing). Guys, I recommend you to start observing my career carefully. I feel that I'm really close to the best fighters of the cruiserweight division. Be on your guard, guys. I am not going to show any mercy.

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