Chris Billam-Smith has thrown the door ajar for a blockbuster Las Vegas dust-up with Canelo Alvarez after dethroning the unbeaten Lawrence Okolie on his Bournemouth homecoming at the weekend.
The former British and Commonwealth champion elevated his status to even greater heights after capturing the WBO cruiserweight world title with a stunning majority decision victory over his close friend and former stablemate at the Vitality Stadium – the home of his beloved football club.
Billam-Smith sent Okolie packing to the canvas three times as he made a mockery of his pre-fight 3/1 odds, comprehensively inflicting a first professional defeat upon the Londoner who had hoped to fully unify the 200-pound division during the calendar year.
However, whilst Okolie’s hopes of a 2023 clean sweep appear to be over, Billam-Smith is starting to dream about what could be next on his remarkable boxing journey.
“I don’t know what the next dream is, but I’d love to fight in Las Vegas, that’s always been on my boxing bucket list,” he revealed to bet365’s resident boxing expert Rob Tebbutt just hours after his career-defining triumph.
“Unfortunately there are no American cruiserweight title holders over there at the moment, but there has been talk of a Mexican (Canelo) maybe wanting to step up to cruiserweight, who happens to do good ticket sales in Vegas!
“Who knows, but Vegas is definitely on my list. My wife is on board with that too – she has never been and would love to go, even though she only managed to watch one or two rounds of the fight tonight (on Saturday).
“For me, fighting in Las Vegas that is definitely the dream.”
The Gentleman was roared on to success by 15,000 vociferous supporters on the south coast as he became Bournemouth’s first world title holder in 75 years – following in the footsteps of the great Freddie Mills, who captured world light-heavyweight glory way back in 1948.
“It’s mad; to be able to say I have done it (become a world champion), is surreal,” a clearly emotional Billam-Smith added.
“In the ring when the result was announced, I was just on my knees, looking over at Mia, crying, saying to myself, ‘what has happened!
“Hopefully this can now just help to inspire kids to get in a boxing gym, look after themselves, and learn the respect and discipline that I did in the gym, which has helped get me here.
“I think that was a massive part in getting me into the McGuigan Gym, being a nice person, a hard worker – boxing has helped to really cement my dad and my mum’s parenting.
“I couldn’t let my family down, and I was never going to. I said to my little boy at about 1pm on Saturday and said that ‘Daddy’s going to win you a world title.’
“It’s just mad to be able to sit here and say I have done it!”
Watch the full, in-depth interview at the top of the page.