Chris Billam-Smith makes the first defence of his WBO cruiserweight world championship when he takes on Mateusz Masternak in Bournemouth on 10th December.
The 33-year-old captured the title when dropping a below-par Lawrence Okolie three times in a memorable night at the Vitality Stadium in May.
Billiam-Smith has said that he believes the challenge of Masternak will be the toughest test of his career, but the betting indicates otherwise.
The Gentleman was a 7/2 shot to beat Okolie in May and the 33-year-old is now a 1/5 chance to get the better of former European cruiserweight champ Masternak.
The 12-round WBO cruiserweight world championship will take place on Sunday 10th December, 2023.
The bout will take place in Billiam-Smith’s home town of Bournemouth.
The 33-year-old won the cruiserweight world title when beating Okolie on the south coast in May.
That contest was held at Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium, but due to the time of the year, Billiam-Smith’s first defence of the title will take place at the Bournemouth International Centre.
The BIC’s Windsor Hall has a concert capacity of nearly 4,100 and is one of the bigger indoor music venues in the UK.
The fight will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK.
Billiam-Smith makes the first defence of his WBO cruiserweight world championship.
The 33-year-old has worked his way through the grades and the Gentleman is a former British, Commonwealth and European cruiserweight king.
Masternak has held various international and interim titles in his career and the Polish fighter is a former European champion. This represents the 35-year-old’s first world title challenge.
Billiam-Smith has lost only one of his 19 professional fights and that came against Richard Riakporhe in 2019. That was a split-decision defeat that could have easily gone in Gentleman’s favour and the 33-year-old has done nothing but improve since that loss.
Billiam-Smith won the Commonwealth cruiserweight crown against Craig Glover, a defeat of Tommy McCarthy then added the European and British titles and the Bournemouth brawler is an all-action performer.
The Gentleman looked to be taking a major step up in class against Okolie in May, but the south coast fighter delivered on the biggest night of his career and won the WBO cruiserweight world title.
Billiam-Smith has won 12 of his 19 bouts by stoppage and the Bournemouth banger carries a fair amount of power.
Masternak is an exposed 35-year-old and the Polish fighter has lost five of his 52 professional contests.
There is a good win over Jean Marc Mormeck on Masternak’s card and the 35-year-old went 12-rounds with former world champion Tony Bellew, but those bouts came in 2014 and 2015 and it’s been pretty low-key bouts for the Master since his days as the European cruiserweight champion.
Masternak has scored 31 stoppage victories in his career, and that’s power that has to be respected, but the tank of the 35-year-old must be running low ahead of his 53rd pro bout.
Billiam-Smith is the red-hot 1/5 favourite and it’s expected that the Bournemouth man will retain his title in front of a home crowd. Masternak is to pull off what would be a shock victory.
Full details of the undercard bouts will follow closer to fight night.