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Expect a Better Billam Smith in Tommy McCarthy Rematch

Just like Tommy McCarthy [18(9)-3(1)], Chris Billam Smith [13(10)-1(0)] is disappointed with how he performed in the pair’s first European title fight.

‘The Gentleman’ registered a career-best win over the popular Belfast man to become Continental cruiserweight king during last summer’s Fight Camp – but doesn’t believe he produced a career-best performance.

In fact, similarly to ‘The Mac Attack’ who he rematches in Manchester on Saturday night, the Shane McGuigan-trained champion wasn’t happy with his original display.

“I think it’s the same for me,” he told Tris Dixon for The Ring. “I was disappointed with how I boxed and the amount of mistakes I made. I watched it back a couple of times and scored it two rounds to me and that was being harsh to me,” he adds before suggesting he is ready to show improvements on the back of studios camp.

“I think I showed a few improvements in my last fight [against Dylan Bregeon in November] but for me, in this camp, it’s been the best camp and we’ve done a lot of learning, a lot of adjusting, working on certain areas and certain weaknesses so it should make for a great rematch.”

Manchester, UK: Chris Billam-Smith and Tommy McCarthy Final Press Conference ahead of their British and Commonwealth Cruiserweight Titles fight at the weekend. 14 April 2022 Picture By Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing

Billam Smith was rocked by the former Oliver Plunketts amateur early in their first encounter but is not concerned about ‘Big Tommy’s’ power going into the Manchester Arena-hosted, DAZN-broadcast return.

“It was a good shot in the first round that I felt but other than that I didn’t feel any shots,” the title-holder claimed.

“I was momentarily stunned, [but] had my wits about me, he comes in and throws a massive right hook after he lands it and I roll it and come back firing with a left hook and the last five-10 seconds I’m actually the one hitting him on the inside.

“I’ve been hit harder than that but it was a good shot and he set it up well and I made a mistake, so all credit to him. You can’t look at it as too black and white.”

“I think it was a very good shot but there might have been other shots that he throws better that catch you in the right spot and at the end of the day it’s the cruiserweight division so there’s a speed and power element to every boxer who you face in the division. In any fight you’ve got to be aware of that and anyone can hurt you at any given moment, so it’s nice to know I took a good shot but hopefully this time I won’t be taking any!”

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com