Commonwealth King meets European Emperor
The British Boxing Board of Control have today (May 17) announced that Chris Billam-Smith (12-1, 10KOs) will clash with Tommy McCarthy (18-2, 9KOs) for the vacant British cruiserweight title , previously held by Richard Riakporhe. Promoter Eddie Hearn put in the request, which was immediately approved, with date and venue yet to be decided.
30-year-old McCarthy, from Belfast, was only in action last weekend as he successfully defended his European title for the first time to overmatched opponent Alexandru Jur (19-5, 7KOs). Depite being a former EBU EU crusierweight champion, the Romanian was not a threat and offered very little in opposition, decked twice and losing via sixth-round TKO.
'The Gentleman' Billam-Smith was also in the ring very recently, when he won the WBA Continental crusierweight belt against hard-hitting Czech fighter Vasil Ducar (9-4-1, 8KOs) on the undercard of Okolie vs Glowacki in March.
Both CBS and McCarthy share a defeat to former British titleholder Riakporhe. Billam-Smith took the unbeaten Londoner to a split decision verdict in 2019, which was a 10-round contest for the WBA Inter-Continental title. Since then, the 30-year-old Bournemouth boxer has rebuilt with some fine wins, starting with a fifth-round TKO over Craig Glover (10-3, 8KOs) to be crowned Commonwealth champion in November 2019; followed by a sensational second-round stoppage of undefeated Welshman Nathan Thorley (14-1, 6KOs) in his first defence in August 2020; culminating in his unanimous decision victory over Ducar this year to grab the WBA Continental strap.
McCarthy suffered his second loss at the heavy hands of Riakporhe, who stopped him midway through the fourth. It was the 31-year-old's second defence of his WBA Inter-Continental crown, which he defended in the same year to Billam-Smith in his next fight on from McCarthy.
He bounced back immediately with two early stoppage wins in May and July that same year; then defeated Fabio Turchi (19-1, 13KOs) in the Italian's backyard in October 2019, ending the year with four victories and one defeat, plus the WBC International cruiserweight belt. He won his European crown in his next fight to Bilal Laggoune (25-2-2, 14KOs) on the undercard of Chisora-Usyk on Halloween night last year, then defended it with ease last weekend.
This closely-matched pair are both ranked in the top 15 with the WBC, WBA and IBF, so whoever wins will be within touching distance of a world title shot next.
Billam-Smith: WBC #14; WBA #6; IBF #13; BoxRec #17
McCarthy: WBC #6; WBA #5; IBF #5; BoxRec #19