While this may not be the yr Chris Billam-Smith wins “British Fighter of the Year”, one particular class for which he is undoubtedly in competition is “Most Enhanced Fighter”, owing to the 3 wins he has so considerably registered in 2022 and the method in which people wins had been secured.
When a cruiserweight easy to miss, the 32-12 months-outdated Billam-Smith has this year turn out to be a can not-overlook attraction, forcing an complete division fork out shut focus to his progress. Far better than that, he has, offered the nature of his modern sort, also commenced to attract very the subsequent, particularly at property in Bournemouth wherever his up coming combat takes put on Saturday (November 17).
The previous time Billam-Smith was there it was July and substantially warmer than it is now. That night time, against Isaac Chamberlain, Billam-Smith experienced to dig deep pursuing an uncertain commence to finally take in excess of and overwhelm his opponent, beating him in the end quite easily on factors. He did, in the process, present each weaknesses and strengths, however far additional of the latter than the former, it has to be said. Additionally, in beating Chamberlain the way he did, thrilling his followers all through, Billam-Smith built a scenario for becoming one of the fittest and most relentless fighters in the state someone who seems to have the capacity to get much better with every passing round.
In many approaches that general performance vs . Chamberlain was a vocation-ideal demonstrating for Billam-Smith, 16-1 (11). His biggest earn prior to that a single also arrived this year when, in April, he conquer Ireland’s Tommy McCarthy for a second time, this time stopping him within eight rounds. That, again, was a sign of both of those Billam-Smith’s quick fee of advancement and also his potential to adapt his model and solution based on the opponent and circulation of a individual struggle.
In truth, Billam-Smith has been finding superior and far better for three many years now, which will make his sole pro loss towards Richard Riakporhe (a break up selection in 2019) not just 1 really hard to recall but one he will surely be eager to avenge at some phase. Ahead of that, nevertheless, he will have to deal with the menace of German-primarily based Kosovan Armend Xhoxhaj this weekend and do so with the professionalism and regularity for which he is now acknowledged.
On the encounter of it, Xhoxhaj seems a banana skin of an opponent – if, of system, authorized to develop into that. He is, on paper, a 28-year-outdated with a modest report of 14-2 (7) whose best earn to date is his final just one, a 10-spherical determination earn about Roman Fress, then 15-, in May. Other than that, he has overwhelmed largely a host of journeyman to develop his document, with the two other key results on his ledger the two defeats: the initially, a 3rd-round KO loss against Dzemal Bosnjak in 2019, and the next, a fourth-spherical TKO from Mateusz Masternak, a former Tony Bellew opponent, in 2021.
These outcomes do not specifically scream longevity, nor bode perfectly when going up in opposition to a person like Billam-Smith, who, while perhaps not a just one-punch KO artist, is anyone whose physical power and grit is typically ample to crack the coronary heart and will of an opponent. Should this tendency keep on this weekend, one particular can simply see “The Gentleman” ending the 12 months with a different stoppage get – what would be his 12th as a professional – someplace all-around the eighth round.
Also taking location in Bournemouth on Saturday is an intriguing British and Commonwealth light-heavyweight title fight amongst the unbeaten Dan Azeez, 17- (11), and previous British and Commonwealth super-middleweight champion Rocky Fielding, 30-2 (18).
Of the two, Azeez, the recent British winner now vying for the vacant Commonwealth strap, is definitely the male with sort and momentum. Two decades younger than Fielding at 33, he has much less miles on the clock, clearly, and has also been on a good operate in 2022, beating initially Reece Cartwright inside eight rounds in March and then, in September, Shakan Pitters through 12-round choice. He has, since turning professional in 2017, created a knack for having testing challenges – generally versus fellow prospective clients or contenders – and rising from all those tests with each his unbeaten history intact and his status improved.
In Fielding, he faces his most professional opponent to date, of that there is no doubt. The 35-calendar year-old from Liverpool has soon after all shared the ring with a variety of good quality operators over the decades, including the likes of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Callum Smith, John Ryder and Tyron Zeuge, whom he famously stopped within 5 rounds in Germany in 2018. He received his British super-middleweight title, in the meantime, in opposition to Ryder, whom he outpointed by using break up selection in 2017, a win that appears much better and better with the passing of time.
Speaking of which, Fielding no for a longer time has time on his facet and hence this fight against Azeez could perfectly be his past roll of the dice. In fact, considering that getting rid of in opposition to Alvarez in 2018, he has boxed just three moments, halting Abdallah Paziwapazi in two rounds in 2019, Emmanuel Danso in two rounds in 2021, and Timo Laine inside of three earlier this 12 months. These wins helped Fielding get back again in the swing of points, no problem, but it is really hard to see how they put together him for a British and Commonwealth title battle at light-heavyweight. Nor is it very likely they will be plenty of to prepare him for an on-tune Dan Azeez, who, offering he maintains his excellent the latest type, can be expected to gain this a single by selection.
Additional down the Bournemouth monthly bill is a properly-matched heavyweight struggle involving Steve “Drago” Robinson, 5-1 (3) and Nick Campbell, 5- (5), as effectively as appearances from Caroline Dubois, 4- (3), Viddal Riley, 7- (4), Lee Cutler, 11-1 (7), Mace Ruegg, 7- (), and the returning Michael McKinson, 22-1 (2), past observed supplying his all from Vergil Ortiz Jnr in August.