Chris Billam-Smith Says He’s Ready to Face a Champion!
When a fighter crosses the threshold from prospect to contender, the next step towards champion requires a different mindset. Top cruiserweight contender Chris “The Gentleman” Billam-Smith (16-1, 11KO) defeated Isaac “IC” Chamberlain (14-2, 8KO) in a thriller and believes he has such a mindset.
Billam-Smith enjoyed fighting in front of the hometown crowd that got their money’s worth in a tremendous battle against Chamberlain. The Gentleman came out with his patented high-volume style looking to overwhelm Chamberlain. However, IC was game as the fight broke down into a phonebooth battle that had the fans on their feet.
After twelve hard-fought rounds, Billam-Smith got crowned the winner on all three scorecards. During the post-fight interview, Billam-Smith credited his corner for setting the tone of his mindset.
“Shane [McGuigan] said it. He said the only way he [Chamberlain] wins this fight is my mindset, and my mindset is incredible.”
When asked about fighting for a title next, Billam-Smith acknowledged he had some more learning to do but still felt confident in being able to defeat any of the champions.
“I’ve got learning to do to beat all those guys. But I will learn, and I will get it done.”
WHICH CHAMPION SHOULD HE FIGHT NEXT?
Billam-Smith’s trainer has set sights on going after the WBC champion Ilunga Makabu. When looking at the rankings, The Gentleman is ranked #8 but could see a huge bump after this victory. A match-up against the WBC champion is a good decision considering Makabu is on the decline at 34 years old. Moreover, he saw his golden ticket get snatched away when a fight with undisputed super middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez fell through. They could lure Makabu into fighting in Billam-Smith’s hometown with a good financial package.
Then there is WBA Super champion Arsen Goulamirian. He is relatively unknown to most of the boxing world. The French champion is coming off a sixth-round stoppage over Aleksei Egorov in 2021. The Gentleman is rated number #5 by the WBA and could quickly get permission to make the fight.
The last two options are the most intriguing. Billam-Smith is rated #3 by the IBF and once the organization readjusts the rankings, a bump to the number one spot is likely to happen. Moreover, he already has an inside track as IBF champion Jai Opetaia’s trainer, Dean Lonergan, revealed they are interested in fighting the winner of Billam-Smith versus Chamberlain.
Lastly, there is WBO champion Lawrence Okolie. Some may feel this fight won’t happen because the fighters are stablemates. However, Billam-Smith holds the number two spot, and the WBO could order a final eliminator against number one spot holder Mateusz Masternak. This takes the decision out of the hands of the fighters.
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By: Garrisson Bland