Featured image: Lawrence Lustig/BOXXER.

WBO cruiserweight champion Chris Billam-Smith returns to his hometown Bournemouth as he looks for the first defence of his title versus Poland’s Mateusz Masternak.

Huge domestic showdowns with Lawrence Okolie and Richard Riakporhe lie in wait for ‘CBS’ but the 33-year-old must first overcame former European champion Masternak on Sunday evening.

The night will see Billam-Smith fight for a fourth consecutive time in Bournemouth with his most recent outing ending with a successful world title charge over former stablemate Okolie in May.

“There’s a reason we’re here for a fourth time,” Billam-Smith told Sky Sports during fight week.

“From the first time we did it last summer, everyone turned out and produced an amazing atmosphere. They’ve been with me every step of the way. It’s an honour to fight in front of these fans.

“It’s an intriguing fight for sure. I’m looking to put in a career best performance tonight in front of this amazing crowd.”

Masternak is no stranger to fighting on British shores following a points defeat to Tony Bellew for the European title back in 2015.

The 36-year-old enters the night buoyed by a wealth of experience at the top level and hasn’t tasted defeat since a unanimous decision loss to former world champion Yuniel Dorticos five years ago.

Billam-Smith floored Okolie before claiming the WBO cruiserweight title via majority-decision in May. Photo by Lawrence Lustig/BOXXER.

Whittaker returns from injury on undercard

Tokyo 2020 silver medalist Ben Whittaker (4-0, 3KOs) steps in for his fifth professional outing against Stiven Dredhaj (11-2-1, 3KOs) of Italy.

The Wolverhampton light-heavyweight has shone when stepping through the ropes in the paid ranks but has been made to wait at times due to frustrations with injury.

Tokyo gold medalist and Wales welterweight Lauren Price (5-0, 1KO) also features as she takes on Italy’s Silvia Bortot (11-3-1, 3KOs) over eight while Bournemouth’s Lee Cutler (13-1, 7KOs) faces Kingsley Egbunike (8-2-1, 1KO) for the vacant English super-welterweight title.

Whittaker’s flashy style will always draw attention. Photo by Lawrence Lustig/BOXXER.

Portsmouth welterweight Michael McKinson (25-1, 4KOs) faces-off against Ghana’s Musah Lawson (11-0, 9KOs) over ten and Kent bantamweight Francesca Hennessy (1-0, 1KO) makes her second pro appearance versus Lucrecia Arrieta (6-5).

Southampton light-heavyweight Lewis Edmondson (7-0, 3KOs) also features versus Ukraine’s Dmytro Fedas (8-4-2, 5KOs) over six rounds.

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