IT WAS a good fight and I feel okay now. What is important to me is that I try my best, win or lose, and I did try my best. I enjoy boxing and I know that I will come again.
I don’t think the crowd played a part in Chris Billam-Smith’s victory, he was doing a lot of good stuff in the ring. When I let the shots go, I was doing well, but when I was forcing it, he was able to get short, sharp shots off. He really had momentum after the first knockdown.
That knockdown, from the left hook, I thought, ‘Wow, good shot’ and then I was like, ‘damn, he got me.’ The other two, being honest, I didn’t really feel like they were knockdowns. With all the excitement and the noise, the referee gave them but, at the end of the day, I shouldn’t have been in that position in the first place. I have to take them on the chin and not allow myself to fall into those traps in the future.
As things stand, 100 per cent I want the rematch. I still have to watch the fight back, but nothing happened that made me think he’s unbelievable or anything like that. He deserved to win, he’s got his rewards, but I will be pushing for that rematch. I don’t have any concerns about coming to Bournemouth again. Chris was very good but I’m not certain he can improve on that, I know I can. I lost here, I might as well win here.
Chris is the same guy I used to spar with. Me and him have always had good, hard work. He was strong on the inside, like he always is. If I’d have landed in the fourth round, and hurt him, I would have gone on to win the fight. But moments change the course of fights, and he had that moment himself. His game plan worked well. The fact is that he did better work than me. I’m happy for him, it was good to see him fulfil his dreams. He’s a great husband, a great father and I’ve always liked him as a person. Obviously, I’d have preferred to have knocked him out, but this is all character building.
I was frustrated with losing points. The referees must get educated. There are positions I got into where the arms were locking together. There’s no fight in boxing where the two fighters don’t come together. If I had a hand free, I should have been allowed to work. But that’s not for me to educate the referees. I’m not here to make any excuses but I could feel the fight slipping away. What I realised, is that when I was punching, I was having success.
I hit him with a couple of good shots but I knew, as the points were being taken away and the knockdowns were being counted, I had to knock him out. So I was loading up rather than just relaxing. I lost track of the rounds, too, which is isn’t like me. Suddenly it was round 10 and I was like, ‘F**k, I’ve got to push it.’
It is all a bit upsetting. I know that the vision my trainer Sugar Hill [Steward] has for me is a spectacular one. But that should not be the be all and end all of the journey, we have only had about three months together. There has been progress but it’s still a learning curve for me. I always learn, I had a short amateur career and, as professional, I became British, Commonwealth and European champion all off the back of my mentality and physicality so I will carry on and continue to learn.
I don’t have any excuses, Chris did very well. Today is his day and tomorrow will be my day.