The up and coming British Cruiserweight Chris Billam-Smith, was centre stage in his home town of Bournemouth as he headlined Steve Bendall’s show ‘The Dawning’ on Saturday night at the O2 Academy.
The 27 year old went the distance with Slovakian Michal Plesnik (6-2), in a brutal eight round contest bringing his professional record to 6-0 (5).
Billam-Smith last time around defeated Romanian Gheorghe Danut via TKO, but was up against a much more bigger and dangerous opponent in Plesnik. The Slovakian came out of the blocks immediately at a frantic pace, which was then continued by Billam-Smith throughout the contest.
It was the first time the former Poole ABC prospect has fought on such an occasion, headlining his first show.
“Looking back a few years ago, it was always going to be a dream headlining a show in your hometown,” Billam-Smith explained.
“At this stage, it was all about establishing my jab which is my best asset and that cut him (Plesnik) early on in the fight and to get the body shots in there slowed him down.
“It was a good tough fight and most importantly I got 8 rounds under my belt.”
Billam-Smith’s trainer Shane McGuigan, was impressed with his man on the night:
“Chris was forced to fight a mid and close range because it was a small ring but he ticked all the boxes for me tonight.
“He worked the combinations well and is exactly what we needed and I do feel like it was a shame that the fight wasn’t televised because it was very entertaining.”
McGuigan, who has trained the likes of Carl Frampton, George Groves and David Haye, has a clear vision for the rest of the year for Billam-Smith:
“I think maybe a southern area title or perhaps just going straight in for an English title is the next step because now he’s done 8 hard rounds at a very frantic pace. If he can do 8 rounds like that he can do 10 rounds, no doubt about it.”
The O2 academy was graced with the presence of WBA Super Middleweight Champion Groves, who came to support his stablemate Chris, and young Jack Hillier who made his debut on Saturday night.
Hillier, who is trained by featherweight Josh Pritchard at McGuigan’s gym, took to the ring professionally for the first time.
“It was amazing. I got great support here. I was a little nervous beforehand but the support made it all the better. It was great to get under way and to get my career started.
“Every boxer dreams of becoming a World champion- so that’s the aim, to go far as I possibly can go in the sport. The next step is just to get out and start fighting again as soon as possible.”
The baby-faced Hillier is certainly one to watch for the future. On a night dubbed ‘The Dawning’, it felt like the sun was rising on a new dawn for the Bournemouth boxing scene.