Billam-Smith May Face IBF Champ Opetaia After Savage Stoppage

Billam-Smith Secures his March Towards a 2023 Title Shot!

Chris Billam-Smith secures title shot by defeating Armend Xhoxhaj
Chris Billam-Smith (L), Jai Opetaia (Credit: Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Chris Billam-Smith Stops Armend Xhoxhaj; Title Shot Likely Next

On December 17, top-rated cruiserweight “The Gentleman” Chris Billiam-Smith (17-1, 12KO) scored a savage knockout over Armend Xhoxhaj (14-3, 7KO). He overcame early adversity with to potentially secure a championship showdown in 2023.

The Gentleman was hurt early in the fight after getting hit by a hard, overhand right from Xhoxhaj. Furthermore, he suffered a cut above the left eye, adding drama to the fight. Then just like that, in round five, Billam-Smith landed a three-punch combination that sent his opponent to the canvas, lifeless. The referee ignored the ten count and quickly called for the doctor. With an upset averted, Billam-Smith can now focus on a world title next.


The Gentleman has come a long way since losing a controversial decision to top contender Richard Riakporhe in 2019. He picked up big wins over other prospects Tommy McCarthy and Isaac Chamberlain en route to winning the BBBofC, Commonwealth, and EBU European titles. Ranked in the top ten by all three major sanctioning bodies, Billam-Smith has a championship option on the table.

There have been talks of a rematch with Riakporhe considering the controversial nature of the first fight. Yet, from a business standpoint, a title shot is the route team Billam-Smith will pursue. He is the frontrunner for a title shot against newly crowned IBF champion Jai Opetaia. Opetaia had to take some time off due to an injury sustained while taking the belt away from Mairis Briedis on July 2.

Billam-Smith will need to work on his nonexistent head movement and, for god’s sake, bring the jab-hand back to protect the chin. However, he has improved on working behind the jab and mixing up his punch variation.

The #2 WBO, #3 IBF, #4 WBA, and #7 WBC contender is sitting comfortably in the driver’s seat with a dream of a lifetime right there for the taking in 2023.

By: Bo Bland

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Garrisson Bland - Head of Public Relations/Senior Journalist. Garrisson is the Head of Public relations for as well as a senior writer. He is also the host of YouTube boxing show "Truth And Facts Sports Talk."