Featured image: Lawrence Lustig/BOXXER.

WBO cruiserweight champion Chris Billam-Smith returns to Bournemouth’s International Centre to defend his world title against Poland’s Mateusz Masternak on December 10th.

The fight will be Billam-Smith’s third consecutive bout in his hometown, the latest being his majority-decision points victory over former stablemate Lawrence Okolie.

Promoters BOXXER have confirmed the bout will take place on the Sunday as opposed to the usual Saturday slot.

First title defence set for ‘CBS’

The fight will see Billam-Smith make the first defence of his WBO title since defeating Okolie earlier this year.

“We’re back home in Bournemouth as defending champion. It’s a Sunday, December 10th. I’m so excited to be back home, all is underway for training,” Billam-Smith told Sky Sports.

“The fans have been phenomenal. We [AFC Bournemouth] are away at [Manchester] United on the Saturday, it’s a long way from Manchester to Bournemouth so I need them back in time for fight night so we’re on the Sunday.”

Masternak meanwhile has not fought since a unanimous-decision victory over Jason Whateley 12 months ago.

The 36-year-old was set to face IBF champion Jai Opetaia before Masternak withdrew from a scheduled June purse bid at the eleventh hour after he was reportedly advised to take a different route.

“He’s so tough, he does everything very well. He’s got good punch output, power, so tough and he’s ready to let his hands go.

“We’ve seen how I fight so it can only be an exciting night.”

Billam-Smith dropped and beat Okolie at the home of his beloved AFC Bournemouth in May. Photo by Lawrence Lustig/BOXXER.

Billam-Smith re-signs with BOXXER – Okolie rematch set for 2024

BOXXER have also confirmed that Billam-Smith has signed a fresh deal with the promotional outfit which includes an obligation to meet Okolie in a second fight in the new year.

The pair met in May with Billam-Smith edging a majority-decision which saw him floor Okolie on three separate occasions over the twelve rounds.

Okolie was also deduced points twice for persistent holding in his first professional defeat in 20 outings.

“Lawrence is rebuilding for now but I’ve always known I was going to have to box Lawrence again, so we’re contracted to a rematch with him after this one,” Billam-Smith told Sky Sports.

The 33-year-old is also expected to be ordered to defend against mandatory challenger Richard Riakporhe next year.

The latter handed Billam-Smith his only professional defeat in 2019 when he edged a narrow split-decision victory over ten rounds.

Riakporhe, like Masternak, also withdrew from a scheduled purse bid against IBF title-holder Opetaia before withdrawing at late notice.

Undercard announcements for the event are expected to follow.

Riakporhe is mandatory challenger for Billam-Smith’s WBO cruiserweight title. Photo by Lawrence Lustig/BOXXER.

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