Local hero Chris Billam-Smith is returning to box at the Bournemouth International Centre, live on Sky Sports on December 17.
The Bournemouth cruiserweight will take on dangerous Kosovan Armend Xhoxhaj.
Billam-Smith is coming off one of the best fights of the year, when he defended the European and Commonwealth cruiserweight titles in a thrilling 12-rounder with Isaac Chamberlain.
Now he welcomes Xhoxhaj to what is guaranteed to be a deafening arena in his hometown.
The Kosovan, based in Germany, has a 14-2 (7 KOs) record. Xhoxhaj had a seven-bout winning run brought to an end by former European champion Mateusz Masternak last year.
But the 28-year-old – known as ‘The Bombardier’ – defeated Roman Fress back in May to claim the WBO Inter-Continental cruiserweight title and will head to the south coast looking to celebrate another major upset.
Billam-Smith has only lost once in his professional career and that was a 2019 split decision reverse to Richard Riakporhe.
Since then he has gone from strength to strength. He knocked out Craig Glover then Nathan Thorley to win and defend the Commonwealth title. He added the British and European championships to his list of accolades when he beat Tommy McCarthy and earlier this year won a rematch with McCarthy when he stopped him in eight rounds.
His war with Chamberlain in Bournemouth in July has already been acclaimed as one of the most exciting bouts of 2022.
“I can’t wait to get back to Bournemouth in front of the best atmosphere in the country,” Billam-Smith said.
“Last time out was nothing short of incredible: the fight itself, the atmosphere, the occasion. This is the last step before the world title. I will put on a world-class performance worthy of that chance and the phenomenal support.”
Dan Azeez will put the British light-heavyweight championship on the line against Liverpool’s Rocky Fielding.
Azeez shot to prominence when he beat Hosea Burton last year to win the title and impressed again in Liverpool in September when he overcame Shakan Pitters.
In Fielding, though, he meets an experienced opponent who has fought at the highest level. Fielding’s only losses have come against Callum Smith, who went on to win a super-middleweight world title, and Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez.
Tokyo Olympian Caroline Dubois starred on the undercard of the historic Claressa Shields vs Savannah Marshall show in October when she knocked out Milena Koleva. She returns to Bournemouth where she also impressed when stopping Happy Daudi in July.
Rising cruiserweight Viddal Riley is quickly back in action after chalking up a devastating stoppage win over fellow unbeaten prospect Ross McGuigan last weekend in Manchester.
Bournemouth’s own Lee Cutler (11-1, 7 KOs) will be keen to spread some festive cheer for the local fans in attendance.
“We were blown away by the crowd in Bournemouth earlier this summer and it is great to be heading back there in December,” said BOXXER founder and CEO Ben Shalom.
“Chris Billam-Smith tore the roof off the place in his breath-taking win over Isaac Chamberlain. The noise was deafening and the atmosphere was absolutely electric.
“I’m expecting the fans to reach a whole new level as ‘CBS’ bids to continue his march towards a world title shot in what will be a tough fight against Armend Xhoxhaj.
“We have a real treat in store as ‘Super’ Dan Azeez takes on Rocky Fielding. Rocky is a world-level fighter, a big name in the UK and the only defeats on his resume are against Canelo Alvarez and Callum Smith.
“With Caroline Dubois and Viddal Riley in action too, this card is an early gift for British boxing fans.”