Chris Billam-Smith told the crowds on Bournemouth beach ahead of his European and Commonwealth cruiserweight title defence against Isaac Chamberlain he is relishing competing in his hometown live on Sky Sports on Saturday.
Billam-Smith left Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing so he could join the rival promotion company Boxxer to make his homecoming dream a reality, with his European and Commonwealth titles on the line.
Such a moment is something the 31-year-old insists he will relish, adamant he is ready to handle the pressure.
“It’s an honour for me to box in my hometown in front of my friends, family, and supporters,” he told a press conference on Bournemouth beach. “The town’s been behind me all these years.
“I’m fortunate to have such a great coach and be part of a world-class gym surrounded by world-class fighters that make me better. Isaac’s an amazing fighter, probably the hardest fight of my career so far, but that’s what I want, someone who can bring the best out of me.
“Pressure is a privilege. It brings out the best in me, the harder the fights, the more riding on the fight, the better I’ll be, and I’ll always find a way to win if I have to.”
Ben Shalom, Boxxer CEO and founder added: “This is the one Chris Billam-Smith always wanted. He wanted to come back to Bournemouth. The turnout here today shows he’s a big star here in Bournemouth and he’s here to defend his European and Commonwealth titles.
“Isaac Chamberlain, people will remember a long time ago when he fought Lawrence Okolie after only having had nine fights and being 23 years old. He’s built himself back up and people are underestimating where he is today both mentally and physically. We have an absolute 50/50 cruiserweight war on our hands with a lot on the line as well on Saturday night.”
Chamberlain makes the trip from Brixton with five straight stoppage wins in his last five bouts.
He said: “No one has been able to see the work I’ve been doing, because I’ve been away working on myself as an athlete and as a fighter. This is a great fight and a great test to show everyone the new and improved Isaac Chamberlain. Chris Billam-Smith is a great fighter so this is going to be a great fight.”
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