Chris Billam-Smith survives savage affair with Isaac Chamberlain as boxing delivers throwback at the seaside
On Saturday July 30th, just minutes from the beach and with a sea breeze cooling the arena, hometown hero Billam-Smith was involved in a bloody and savage affair over twelve relentless rounds against Isaac Chamberlain. At the end, roared on by just under 4,000 fanatics, Chamberlain had a swollen cheek and left eye and a bad gash over the damaged eye; the pair were smeared in dark blood. Chamberlain’s vision had been impaired for five or six rounds. It was heroic stuff down by the seaside.
Billam-Smith retained his European and Commonwealth cruiserweight titles in a fight that was tight and gruelling from the opening bell. They fought over every single inch of the blood-spattered canvas, taking turns, in a dazzling opening three rounds, to slam home vicious shots to the body and head. They finished the last at the same pace they had started the first – they were just hurt, bruised and cut.
The fight exhausted the crowd – it was that type of brawl. And the crowd pushed them on – standing, chanting, singing and throwing and taking just about every punch.
In Billam-Smith’s corner, Shane McGuigan had to constantly remind his fighter not to get too relaxed. “He’s not a f****** amateur, be careful, be smart,” he urged at the end of the fourth. The fight was so tight at that stage. At the final bell, boxing insiders were darting frantically all over ringside asking in silent whispers for opinions. It was close, but the identical scores from the judges gave it to Billam-Smith.
Now, they will each go away and enjoy the rest of their lost summer, let their hands and faces heal. Chamberlain lost, sure, but the defeat does not change his potential. He remains a quality fighter and the 12 rounds, his first over the championship distance, will make him much better. He is 28 and there are lot of big fights out there for him