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Chris Billam-Smith Defends WBO Cruiserweight Title, Eyes Unification Bout

British boxer triumphs over Masternak, sets sights on rematch with Riakporhe and cruiserweight belt unification.

BOURNEMOUTH, England — On Sunday, December 10th, at Bournemouth, UK, Chris “The Gentleman” Billam-Smith defended his WBO World Cruiserweight Championship. Chris Billam-Smith(19-1, 13 KO’s) from England defeated Mateusz Masternak (47-6, 31 KOs), a former European, IBF, and WBA Intercontinental Cruiserweight Champion who is presently ranked #5 in the world by the WBO and #9 by the WBC.

 

The bout was entertaining, as Masternak moved quickly and consistently outmatched the reigning champion. For a while, it appeared as though Billam-Smith would lose his crown. However, the 33-year-old persevered, and with his body approach, he made a significant breakthrough in round seven. Masternak was obviously feeling the shots to his belly, which is where he got the rib damage.

 

Without a doubt, some of his harsher critics would refer to Masternak as a “quitter,” yet fractured ribs must hurt unbearably. The only opponent to defeat Billam-Smith was Richard Riakporhe, and that victory came by a close decision back in July 2019. It appears that Smith will face Riakporhe again in their upcoming bout. Following their fight, both men discussed the likely upcoming rematch.

 

“We’ll see [if I call Riakporhe for the fight]. Christmas! I want to be undisputed. I would be very keen for that fight. I never shy away from a fight. Me and Rich have boxed before but that was a different me. It would be an amazing rematch. He might look at tonight and fancy his chances so bring it on,” said Billam-Smith in media reports.

 

“The shots he was being hit with by Masternak weren’t heavy shots but you could see it was hurting him,” said Riakporhe. 

“If I land one of those shots, how’s he going to react? How’s he going to react from a jab from me, or a right hand or a hook from me? It’s going to be very dangerous. I mean literally I’ve been dreaming of hurting him really bad. Really, really bad. And from what I’ve seen here, I know I can. I know I can,” he added.

 

One rematch that we might be able to anticipate seeing some time next year is this one. Billam-Smith stated he intends to attempt to unify the cruiserweight belts.

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