Chris Billam-Smith wins thunderous battle with Isaac Chamberlain to defend European and Commonwealth titles | boxing news

Chris Billam-Smith defended his European and Commonwealth heavyweight titles in a thunderous battle with Isaac Chamberlain in his hometown of Bournemouth on Saturday.

The roar that rose from the crowd as Billam-Smith entered the Bournemouth International Center was simply deafening. The champ walked to the ring with serious intent even as pyrotechnics and the arena exploded around him.

He started with firm shots, drilling them through Chamberlain’s guard. Those shots caught the Londoner and Billam-Smith backed them up with his cross. He bullied Chamberlain on the ropes and worked close.

Chamberlain had to open with left hooks to try and come up with an answer, fighting back under pressure. But Billam-Smith finished that first round with a sudden smile on his face.

Billam-Smith (right) advances closely. (Photo: Lawrence Lustig/BOXXER)

Billam-Smith picked up that momentum in the second round. Even when Chamberlain landed a nice left hook to the body, Billam-Smith landed a left hook to his head. Chamberlain escaped the ropes and caught Billam-Smith with a sudden strike, forcing him to retreat. But before the round was over, the champ was boring again, pushing Chamberlain back into the ropes.

They still fought at third pace, but it was Billam-Smith who broke through with a hard left hook and a flurry of punches, sapping Chamberlain’s energy.

He kept Chamberlain on the back foot, until, on the fifth lap, Chamberlain managed to hold on. The Londoner managed to squeeze through and Billam-Smith finished the round looking tired.

As Billam-Smith advanced to the seventh, Chamberlain uncorked his left hook. Encouraged, he attacked with more blows to the head. His right uppercut went through Billam-Smith’s defenses, shaking his head. Chamberlain’s left eye was swollen. He had absorbed punishing shots but he took courage, unwinding shots even as his left eye began to close.

In the eighth, Chamberlain threw a great right cross and they finished the round viciously trading with each other.

The fight was an intense physical battle. Throughout Billam-Smith looked to force his way forward, but Chamberlain’s confidence grew as he resisted power punches and gained space to work. He was able, increasingly, to tip Billam-Smith into the ropes or corner him.

But Billam-Smith continued to drill punches into his chest and he unloaded some hard punches in the 10th round to have the crowd once again rising to cheer him on.

Chamberlain holds on and starts firing forehands through

Both men were tired heading into the final two laps. Wearily, Billam-Smith continued to plod inward. Yet he could still dig up thundering punches, snapping the ribs, then sinking a three-punching blow to the head. He was also the first to rise from his stool for the final lap and once again raised his arms to his crowd.

They both worked desperately hard, looking for a grandstand finish. Billam-Smith shook hooks against Chamberlain’s head and, off the ropes, blasted his right into Chamberlain’s jaw to turn his head for a moment.

But Chamberlain fought back, taking Billam-Smith into the ropes, rocking him with a left hook and prompting the two to swing wildly for the final seconds before the final bell ended their fight.

The decision was unanimous, all three judges had Billam-Smith a 117-111 winner.

“The corner was amazing,” the defending champion said afterwards. “They knew exactly what to say every time.

“What an incredible fight. Isaac is a warrior, I knew that.

“I knew when to relax and go again, and give him a little hit, and then I took it away from him and broke his heart.”

That losing effort came in Chamberlain’s first 12-round bout. “It wasn’t my night. Lots of ring-rust. I haven’t done 12 rounds before. But I’ll get back to the gym as soon as I can,” he said.

“It’s my first ever 12 rounds, so I’ll be back.”

He will be back, and he also wants a rematch. “100%,” Chamberlain said.

Nelson: A Fighting Candidate of the Year

Johnny Nelson says the instant heavyweight classic was a Fight of the Year contender.

β€œIt has to be the fight of the year so far because what these guys have shown with pure heart and determination,” Nelson said.

“Chris Billam-Smith’s game plan worked. He came out on top to fight his fight. So when you get into this, if you’re not smart and experienced enough to get out of that state of wit and box instead of bashing, so it’s very hard to do.

“And Chris is a badass. I’ve seen Isaac in fights like that until the very end, when he digs deep. He showed so much heart and spirit, but inactivity didn’t help. just didn’t work for him.

“Chris’ tactic worked perfectly for him, but what a fight. The standing crowd. It was exhausting watching him!”

The biggest fight in women’s boxing history – Claressa Shields vs Savannah Marshall – is live on Sky Sports on Saturday September 10. Be a part of history and buy London Showdown tickets here.

Sky Sports

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