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Chris Billam-Smith vs Mateusz Masternak: Tips, preview and predictions for The Gentleman’s first world title defence

Chris Billam-Smith returns to the Bournemouth International Centre to make the first defence of his WBO world cruiserweight title against the seasoned Mateusz Masternak on Sunday evening.

‘The Gentleman’ realised his dream when he pulled off one of the major shocks of 2023 when he dethroned Lawrence Okolie on home turf at Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium on May 27.

This fight will be remembered as one of the worst all-British world title fights in history as Okolie’s negative style led to the bout being marred by persistent holding.

But credit should go to Billam-Smith, as the 33-year-old knocked the defending champion (who was docked two points) down three times en route to a deserved victory via majority decision.

Billam-Smith (18-1) faces experienced former European champion Masternak in his first world title defence, which will also be his fourth-straight fight in his hometown of Bournemouth.




Masternak (36) is three years Billam-Smith’s senior and has had 52 fights in the pro ranks. He has previously fallen short against top-level opponents as two of his five defeats have come against Tony Bellew and Yuniel Dorticos.

But he is on a five-fight winning streak and being a former champion at European level, he will provide a solid test for Billam-Smith, who may struggle to stop his foe on Sunday night as only one of Masternak’s professional defeats came via knockout.

Having been out of the ring for seven months, this is a suitable fight for Billam-Smith, who should have enough to win comfortably on points or via knockout in the later rounds.

A win here would set Billam-Smith up to rematch Richard Riakporhe (the only fighter The Gentleman has lost to as a professional) in another all-British world title fight, which would hopefully be much better than the snoozefest against Okolie.

Suggested bets

Chris Billam-Smith to win on points

Chris Billam-Smith to win (rounds 7-9)

Full card

WBO cruiserweight title - Chris Billam-Smith vs. Mateusz Masternak

Eight round female welterweight bout - Lauren Price vs. Silvia Bortot

Eight-round light-heavyweight bout - Ben Whittaker vs. Stiven Leonetti Dredhaj

Six-round welterweight bout - Michael McKinson vs. Musah Lawson

Ten-round light-middleweight bout - Lee Cutler vs. Obi Egbunike

Six-round light-heavyweight bout - Lewis Edmondson vs. Dmytro Fedas, 6 rounds, light heavyweights

Four-round bantamweight bout - Francesca Hennessy vs. TBA

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