Chris Billam-Smith has extra reason to celebrate after becoming the European cruiserweight champion.
The 31-year-old’s split-decision over Tommy McCarthy at the weekend has seen ‘The Gentleman’ rise up to number two in the latest World Boxing Association rankings having been at number four.
Billam-Smith now holds three pieces of hardware having added the vacant British title to his collection against McCarthy, and successfully defended his Commonwealth strap for a second time as well.
Having only had 14 fights it’s a remarkable rise for the Bournemouth native after losing his unbeaten record in his 10th bout to Richard Riakporhe two years ago.
McCarthy represents Billam-Smith’s biggest win of his career to date after the pair’s hard-fought evenly matched fight at Matchroom HQ on Saturday. Promoter Eddie Hearn is keen to make the rematch and McCarthy wants to run it back once again having thought he had done enough to defend his title.
Billam-Smith now sits one placed behind Miami-based Cuban Yuniel Dorticos. The 35-year-old has taken on two of the world’s best in Murat Gassiev and Mairis Briedis in the last three years and come up short on both occasions. That, however, is no great shame and the former two-time champion remains one of the division’s leading players now that Gassiev and Briedis have moved up to heavyweight.
The WBA currently has Ryad Merhy as their ‘World’ champion and Arsen Goulamirian as their ‘Super’ champion.
Main image: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing