An early Christmas cracker will be delivered to the Bournemouth beachfront on Sunday, December 10th as Chris ‘The Gentleman’ Billam-Smith (18-1, 12 KO’s) makes the first defence of his WBO World Cruiserweight Championship.
Polish powerhouse Mateusz Masternak (47-5, 31 KO’s) - a former European and IBF and WBA Intercontinental Cruiserweight Champion currently ranked #5 in the world by the WBO and #9 by the WBC - challenges Billam-Smith in a championship bout which headlines the BOXXER card taking place at the Bournemouth International Centre and airs live and exclusively on Sky Sports.
“Mateusz Masternak is a superb fighter, he’s proved that throughout his career. He’s got double the amount of fights that I have - he’s actually got more KO wins than I have fights - and his only losses are at the very top level. His style matches well with mine and I think it’s going to be a very exciting fight, I’m really looking forward to it,” said Billam-Smith.
Returning to the UK for the first time since his 2015 European championship fight with Tony Bellew, Masternak rides a six-fight win streak into the bout. Three of those wins have come by KO, one of them a fourth-round stoppage of Albania’s Armend Xhoxhaj, who went five rounds with Billam-Smith last year.
Having sold out the BIC on two previous occasions, December will mark Billam-Smith’s third time headlining Bournemouth’s largest indoor arena and his first contest since May, when he beat Lawrence Okolie in front of a capacity crowd at the Vitality Stadium.
Masternak said, “I think Chris Billam-Smith is a very good boxer. He showed his warrior soul in his last fight and proved that he deserves to be champion. I have a lot of respect for him in that way, but I believe more in my skills and my experience. I’ve been dreaming of the world championship since I started boxing. My boxing journey has been like a movie, all the highs and lows. I hope in December we get the best scene. I’m looking forward to fighting in England again, the fans create a great atmosphere there.“
And ahead of his maiden world title defence, Billam-Smith has committed his future to BOXXER by signing a new extended deal, which includes a commitment to rematch Lawrence Okolie if he remains champion.
BOXXER founder and CEO Ben Shalom said, “Chris Billam-Smith wanted his first defence of the WBO World Cruiserweight Championship to be a big crowd-pleaser of a fight in his home town. Mateusz Masternak ticks all the boxes; he's ranked number five in the world, he's got a ton of experience and he rarely takes a backwards step. He’s a very dangerous opponent and Billam-Smith is taking a serious risk here.
“Anyone who has ever experienced a BOXXER event at the Bournemouth International Centre will know just how crazy the atmosphere gets in there and I think this one will take that to a new level, the crowd are going to raise the roof. We're ending the year with a guaranteed Christmas cracker and I can't wait."