Ukrainian puncher Dmytro Kucher has been placed as the number one contender to face newly-crowned European cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew in the New Year.
Kucher, 31, fought out a draw with undefeated Belgian Bilal Laggoune in a battle for the then-vacant belt last October, which handed the opportunity over to Bellew. The Briton grabbed his chance with both hands at the weekend to negate the need for a Kucher v Laggounce return.
Bellew overcame Mateusz Masternak at the O2 Arena in London via a points decision to win the Continental crown for the first time in his career ahead of an expected world title shot in the first half of 2016.
Should Bellew look to stay busy and get back in action in early spring, Kucher could be the best option for ‘The Bomber’ who has been awaiting a possible agreement with IBF belt holder Victor Ramirez to no avail.
Argentinian Ramirez seems hell bent on defending the 200 pound championship in his own country, whilst Bellew is known to be keen on securing a world title attempt at Goodison Park – home of his beloved Everton FC.
Unless WBC ruler Grigory Drozd or WBA title holder Denis Lebedev can be secured for the UK, or alternatively the WBO decide to strip the injured Krzysztof Glowacki, Bellew is facing a championship stalemate and could have a ready-made opponent in Kucher.
Other than a first defence, Bellew’s only other target is compatriot David Haye, who is tied up with a comeback fight against Mark de Mori next month.
An initial purse bid for Bellew v Kucher has been set for January 7, 2016.