Home Boxing News Fear drives Chris Billam-Smith: “I don’t want to be that one-hit wonder”

Fear drives Chris Billam-Smith: “I don’t want to be that one-hit wonder”

Chris Billam-Smith (right) is congratulated by Lawrence Okolie. Photo credit: Sky Sports

Cruiserweight Chris ‘The Gentleman’ Billam-Smith 18-1 (12) says he has much more he wants to achieve after lifting the WBO championship from Lawrence ‘The Sauce’ Okolie 19-1 (14) by majority decision at Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth, England back in May.

That all starts when he returns to Bournemouth to make the maiden defence of his title against 36-year-old Polish veteran Mateusz Masternak 47-5 (31) on December 10.

“It makes stylistically for potentially one of the best fights the cruiserweight division has ever seen and that’s saying something,” Billam-Smith told Sky Sports. “Because the way we both fight is exciting.

“We’re very similar. We’re both tough. Put our shots together well. We can both punch. We’ve got good chins.

“He’s one of the most experienced fighters maybe I’ll ever face because he’s boxed every style. He’s boxed at such a high level.

“He’s had more knockouts than I’ve had fights. It’s a hugely dangerous fight. But I’m a world champion. I’ve got to go in there with that confidence and belief, which I always have, and go and do what I do and fight my fight.”

Billam-Smith is expecting the fight to be a better contest than his title-winning effort against Londoner Okolie, 30, that was marred by excessive clinching.

“For me it’s my toughest test,” he said. “I’m expecting that and I’m preparing for that because that’s the type of fighter he is. You prepare for anything less than that against Masternak, you’re doing him an injustice, you’re doing yourself an injustice.”

Billam-Smith believes other 200-pound boxers see him as an easy mark, but he insists there is more to his game than there appears at first glance.

“I’m not a slickster. I’m no Floyd Mayweather. But what I do is very, very effective and underrated,” the 33-year-old said.

“I’m scared of being a flash in the pan. I don’t want to be that one-hit wonder. I want to cement my stature as a world champion and eventually move on to unifications and huge fights.”

Despite the ugliness of the first Okolie bout, Billam-Smith says he fully expects to rematch the former champion next year.

“I expect Lawrence to be a lot better second time round,” said Billam-Smith, who had Okolie on the canvas three times in their first clash.

“I expect him to make improvements. That’s the sort of man he is. He goes away and he works on things and I expect him to come back with more motivation.

“Now he has been beaten he has to do that. He never lost before so he got away with it. He used to say in the gym: ‘It doesn’t matter, I’m still winning’.

“He needs to change his style. I expect him to. It will make the second fight more intriguing.”