Masternak to fight on Gassiev-Wlodarczyk card


With a big Polish crowd expected at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, for the World Boxing Super Series quarterfinal fight between Russian cruiserweight world titleholder Murat Gassiev and Poland’s Krzysztof Wlodarczyk — a former titlist and the mandatory challenger — on Oct. 21, Ringstar Sports promoter Richard Schaefer has added two other appealing fights involving top Polish fighters.

Schaefer announced Wednesday that Polish cruiserweight contender Mateusz Masternak (39-4, 26 KOs) and Stivens Bujaj (16-1-1, 11 KOs), an Albania native fighting out of New York, will meet in the 10-round co-feature. Masternak and Bujaj are reserves in the tournament should something force either main event fighter out of the competition.

In a 10-round junior middleweight fight on the card, Polish contender Maciej Sulecki (25-0, 10 KOs) and former secondary world titleholder Jack Culcay (22-2, 11 KOs), of Germany, will square off.

“Polish pride will be in full force as Mateusz Masternak and undefeated Maciej Sulecki take on tough opponents in important matchups as they chase their world title aspirations,” Schaefer said. “This, of course, will all lead up to the main event and the final World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight quarterfinal pitting the champion Murat Gassiev against the former champion from Poland, Krzysztof Wlodarczyk.”

Masternak, 30, a former European champion, has won three fights in a row since a decision loss in December 2015 to Tony Bellew, who went on to win a world title.

“In my top form, I know that I can beat better fighters than Bujaj,” Masternak said. “I don’t think he can hurt me. Every fight is important. Boxing teaches you that every day. But Bujaj is a steppingstone for me to bigger fights. He is saying that he beat me in sparring a few years ago, but how well could it have gone if he departed faster than he arrived? I have no time to make a mistake and lose a fight like this, so I will be ready for anything when we enter the ring.”

Bujaj, 27, is looking to rebound from his first defeat, a 10-round decision loss in November to undefeated Constantin Bejenaru.

“Get ready to see the best Stivens Bujaj ever,” Bujaj said. “I’ve been training two, sometimes three times a day. I’ve been in this sport since I was 15 years old, and it all comes down to this moment. This is my world championship. It’s going to be the fight of my life, and I’m ready to do whatever it takes. I’ve sparred Masternak before, and I dominated for eight rounds and they sent me home. I’m ready to finish what I started on Oct. 21.”

Sulecki, 28, scored his biggest victory in June 2016, when he knocked out Hugo Centeno Jr. in the 10th round of a middleweight fight. Sulecki has since dropped down to junior middleweight and won two fights.

Culcay, 32, a native of Ecuador, grew up in Germany and made the 2008 German Olympic team. After claiming a secondary world title, Culcay lost it by split decision in his first defense in March to American Demetrius Andrade. Culcay will be fighting for the first time since then.

Schaefer also has added some of the prospects he promotes to the show, including Nigerian heavyweight Efe Ajagba (1-0, 1 KO), 23, a 2016 Olympian; Nigerian cruiserweight Wesley Apochi (2-0, 2 KOs), 29; and 19-year-old Alabama junior middleweight Money Powell IV (4-0, 3 KOs).


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