Tommy McCarthy‘s grudge match with Chris Billam Smith will be given pride of place on the opening night of Fight Camp.
The European, British, and Commonwealth cruiserweight title fight was initially listed as third from the top of the outdoors card in Essex behind headliner Conor Benn v Adrian Granados and the Shannon Courtenay v Rachel Ball rematch for the WBA bantamweight title.
Recently a WBA ‘regular’ featherweight title fight between Can Xu and Leigh Wood was added to the Saturday July 31st bill at Matchroom Headquarters and there was a worry that the biggest fight of McCarthy’s career would be pushed further down the bill.
However, it has been confirmed today by promoter Eddie Hearn that the bad blood bust-up will act as chief support.
Speaking to IFL TV today, the Matchroom boss explained how he intends to place Xu-Wood as the opening bout of the DAZN broadcast and that, following Ball’s withdrawal due to long COVID and a knee injury for Courtenay, the original chief support has been pushed to Fight Camp 3 on August 14th. Courtenay will now instead face American Jamie Mitchell.
The fight will be the first for Belfast’s McCarthy [18(9)-2(1)] since signing an official promotional deal with Matchroom and he comes into the bout off the back of a knockout defence of his European title versus Romanian Alexander Jur. The Shane McGuigan-trained Billam Smith [12(10)-1(0)] – who is the betting favourite in the match-up – holds the Commonwealth belt with the vacant British title also due to be on the line.
The placement of the fight, which has been suggested could have been a Belfast headliner, will act as another boost to McCarthy who has featured on successive pay-per-view bills.
Other bouts that will feature on Fight Camp 1 include Jack Cullen v Avni Yildrim, Anthony Fowler v Roberto Garcia and appearances for Sandy Ryan and Campbell Hatton.