CHRIS BILLAM-SMITH is set to face either Lawrence Okolie or Mateusz Masternak in the first defence of his WBO cruiserweight title this November.
Billam-Smith has not boxed since he outpointed Okolie to secure the biggest win of his career at the home of AFC Bournemouth back in May.
Okolie triggered the rematch clause in July but there has still been no announcement about a date for their second clash and Billam-Smith may be forced to look elsewhere for an opponent.
And the 18-1 (12) cruiserweight has confirmed that Masternak is the other name in the frame for his next fight which has been pencilled in for November 25 but may be pushed to December 2.
“Lawrence invoked the rematch clause a few days before the deadline but I don’t know if they’re really pushing for it,” Billam-Smith told Boxing News.
“A lot of the time I don’t get involved, I leave it to Jake [McGuigan] and concentrate on training. I know I’ll be out before the end of the year and that’s all I care about. That means I can just train and work towards the date and crack on. They keep me updated with conversations they are having.
“I’m looking to be out at the end of November ideally. That’s the timeline I’m looking at so I’m just waiting to hear who it’s going to be.”
“Lawrence or Masternak are the two most likely at the moment. If it’s not Lawrence then it would probably be Masternak. I’m world champion now so they’re all good fights. Now and again you might get a so-called easier mandatory but they are always reputable people that you have to fight.
“With Lawrence, I want the rematch next or not at all really. I want to get on with my career.”
Billam-Smith has become one of the country’s biggest ticket sellers given his vociferous following in his hometown of Bournemouth. However, given the time of year, Dean Court is unavailable which leaves only the Bournemouth International Centre, where he boxed both Armend Xhoxhaj and Isaac Chamberlain.
But CBS has outgrown the 3,000 capacity venue which means his ring return may come in London.
“The main talk for me is the end of November,” he added. “I don’t know whether or not that will be in Bournemouth. It’s a possibility but it would have to be at the BIC which isn’t a very big venue. If not there it would have to be in London because I would have a few travelling fans.
“I don’t have a mandatory due at the moment because Lawrence fought David Light before he fought me and I was a voluntary. I’m not entirely sure when they will order it but I don’t have that pressure of having to fulfill a mandatory yet.
“Ideally I get the next one out of the way and then start looking at much bigger fights. There are other champions, there is Richard Riakporhe, and I’m not entirely sure what is going on with Badou Jack at the moment. I heard a rumour that he might be challenging for the bridgerweight title.”