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Tony Bellew targets world title shot after starring in latest Rocky film

After acting in the latest Rocky film alongside Sylvester Stallone, Tony Bellew insists his priority is still pulling his gloves on for real in the ring.

The Liverpool cruiserweight had a part in Creed, the seventh Rocky movie, which is released in the United Kingdom next month and is already playing in the United States.

Bellew (25-2-1, 16 KOs), 33, takes on Poland's Mateusz Masternak (36-3, 26 KOs) for the vacant European cruiserweight title at London's O2 Arena on Saturday and victory will put him in contention for a crack at a world title.

"It was something that I never expected and it was an unbelievable experience," Bellew told ESPN. "I had a bit of contact with Sly [Stallone] and went to dinner with him a couple of times and we had some great chats about boxing.

"He knows a lot about the sport and especially boxing history. He told me about the pain he went through in making the Rocky movies and I think he liked talking to a boxer about it.

"Rocky made a huge impact on me and my career, as it has others. Everyone wants to be a boxer after they see those films, but only a few get to really experience what it's like.

"I enjoyed it and the director Ryan Coogler, who I got to know over 12 weeks, has become a good friend. I got to know Michael B. Jordan [who plays main character Adonis Johnson] and Sly Stallone was always on hand to give me advice when I needed. I would think about doing it again if the right role came up and I got the opportunity.

"I think this film is a lot more realistic than the other Rocky films. The storylines are very real and it's something that could've happened to me if I didn't have had a good lifestyle and knocked about with different people.

"Michael B. Jordan is one of the best actors in the world and this role is going to be his coming out party and people will know who he's all about after this film. Sly Stallone is brilliant in this film, and he is getting fantastic reviews in the States for it. they say he could be up for an Oscar for best supporting actor.

"It was an honour to work alongside someone like Sly, but also all the actors, directors and crew. It's not like they were asking me to play the role of a doctor or surgeon, but to play the role of myself.

"I'm a boxer foremost now and it's all about December 12 and if I look good in winning this fight it makes me one of the best cruiserweights in the world, and that's all that matters to me now."

Bellew stepped up a division from light-heavyweight after being stopped in six rounds by WBC champion Adonis Stevenson two years ago.

He claims he is ready now to beat any of the four world champions -- Grigory Drozd (WBC), Denis Lebedev (WBA), Victor Ramirez (IBF) and Krzystof Glowaki (WBO).

"Victor Ramirez refused to fight me for the highest pay day of his career so what I have to do now is force one of the world champions to fight me, and winning this fight will do that," Bellew told ESPN.

"I'm sick of organisations saying one thing and doing another. Being European champion should put me in the top five of all organisations and I will go from there.

"It could be the IBF, it could be the WBO. I was lobbying to fight Hernandez and then he fell out through injury. Hopefully I will fight the best fighter in the world and I think the Cuban Yoan Hernandez is the best cruiserweight in the world.

"All the other champions -- Lebedev, Ramirez, Drozd, Glowaki -- are second to him and I don't think any of those world [cruiserweight] champions right now are better than me.

"Ramirez is not half as good as me. I starched Ovill McKenzie [eight round TKO win, 2010] in our first fight and then played with him in our rematch [unanimous points, 2011] at a weight division that was cannibalising my body. For a six foot three inch man, it was killing me making the light-heavyweight limit.

"They offered me to fight Ramirez at 10 days notice but going to Argentina after Martin Murray had gone out there and not got the decision didn't appeal to me. There was no way I would have done that and I don't think I would have got the decision.

"McKenzie tried to box on the back foot and steal a decision where as I would have gone and tried to put him out but Ramirez is durable and can last the distance. Getting decisions in a different country is a different matter.

"Masternak has one genuine defeat on his record to Drozd [11th round TKO, 2013] and I don't think he was really beaten in his other two losses. It will be a tough fight because he's big and strong but I'm looking forward to showing everyone what I can do at this division. It's a litmus test for me at cruiserweight and I will have to go through the pain barrier. I think this is probably the most even fight on the bill."

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