CHRIS BILLAM SMITH will be looking to secure a tilt at Commonwealth cruiserweight glory, providing he can get past Robin Dupre on Saturday night at the York Hall.
“The Gentleman” is not hanging around in the domestic stakes and is setting his sights high, starting with a win over Dupre, whose only defeat came last year against Luke Watkins, where he was stopped in six rounds, also for the commonwealth belt.
The 28-year-old is not looking past Dupre and is excited to be a part of one of the more exciting divisions in British boxing and is hoping a win on Saturday propels him into the discussion and domestic battles that he desires.
Billam-Smith said: “We’ve tried to get some domestic names recently but no one has taken it until Robin. It’s a great buzz to be in a fight with an opportunity to fight for a reputable title like the Commonwealth after. It’s what it’s all about in boxing, winning titles and testing yourself, so I can’t wait.
“I watched Robin against Watkins, as it was a Cyclone show so I was ringside and he gave Luke plenty of problems. He moves well and there’s no way I’ll be taking him lightly, as if you do that he becomes a big problem. I thought Luke lost some of the earlier rounds before the stoppage, so he’ll be a tricky, awkward test.
“But that’s what you want and this sport is all about the best fighting the best, which they are at least domestically in the cruiserweight’s. It’s a great division to be a part of and once I’ve got the win, I’ll be going along to see Wadi Camacho and Arfan Iqbal’s fight for the belt, so I can see who’s next.”
Last time out the Bournemouth man was taken the distance for the first time in his six fight career by Michal Plesnik, but he is adamant that it has been a huge positive for him, as it is a question that will no longer be thrown his way.
He is also enjoying his work in Shane McGuigan’s gym, which has recently been buoyed by the addition of former world title challenger and Olympic 2012 gold medalist Luke Campbell, who is someone that Billam-Smith has admired since his amateur days.
“Going the distance last time was good for me, but it was a small ring, only 16ft which Shane was surprised at as cruiserweight’s shouldn’t be in one like that. You always want to finish your opponent, but I fought at a fast, intense pace and I learned more in that the previous five fights combined,” he said.
“Shane expects the best from all of us every day and it’s great to be a part of the gym, as you are always around other fighters with a winning mentality. I’d be foolish not to watch the other lads and pick up what you can do, so I’m very fortunate to learn from them on a constant basis.
“Now that Luke Campbell has joined, it’s another great addition. He boxed very well against Yvan Mendy last time and is highly experienced. He’s been over to the States and won the Olympic gold, but on top of that he’s a great guy to train alongside.
“He’s incredibly stylish, who boxes long with correct punches. I was tall for my weight in the amateurs, so he was always someone that I watched regularly, especially the Olympics where he was superb. He’s someone that I’m going to enjoy working with and watching.”