Billam-Smith vs. Masternak Tips

Chris Billam-Smith (18-1, 12 KOs) makes the first defence of his WBO cruiserweight world championship when he takes on Mateusz Masternak (47-5, 31 KOs) in Bournemouth on Sunday.

The champion returns to his hometown to face the former European titlist and Billam-Smith will be hoping to repeat his heroic performance when capturing the belt at the Vitality Stadium in May.

‘The Gentleman’ has said he believes the challenge posed by Masternak will be the toughest of his career – but that doesn’t square with the fight prices.

Billam-Smith was a 7/2 shot to beat the then-world champion Lawrence Okolie in May and he is 7/25 to see off the challenge of Masternak on Sunday night.

Tip 1 – Chris Billam-Smith to win by stoppage @ 37/20

Billam-Smith is a former British, Commonwealth and European cruiserweight champion but the Bournemouth fighter took his performances to a new level when capturing the WBO world title against Okolie in front of a home Vitality Stadium crowd in May.

There is no doubt Okolie was below his best in that contest but ‘The Sauce’ had been a top-level performer with no losses on his professional record going in.

Billam-Smith has done nothing but improve for the last few years. He won the Commonwealth cruiserweight crown against Craig Glover before stepping up to beat Tommy McCarthy twice to land both the British and European crowns.

The 33-year-old also has a good victory over Issac Chamberlain on his card with a narrow split decision loss to Richard Riakporhe back in 2019 the only blemish on his record.

Overall, 12 of Billam-Smith’s 18 professional victories have come by stoppage and he is an all-action cruiserweight who doesn’t often take a backward step.

Masternak has been a good fighter in his day – but that day looks to have passed for the 35-year-old.

The Pole has won 47 fights in a long career, and he carries plenty of power, but five defeats have followed every time ‘Master’ has stepped up in class.

There is a good win over Jean Marc Mormeck on Masternak’s record – and the 35-year-old went 12 rounds with former world champion Tony Bellew – but those bouts came in 2014 and 2015 respectively and he hasn’t been seen in a ring since the end of 2022.

Inactivity has to be a major concern for Masternak and that is especially true against an excellently conditioned and free-flowing opponent in Billam Smith.

Masternak’s best chance will be to utiliise the power that has seen him achieve 31 stoppage victories in his career – but going on the front foot will leave him vulnerable to the home fighter.

At the prices, it should pay to back Billam-Smith to stop the veteran challenger in Bournemouth.

Tip 2 – Billam-Smith to win in rounds 5-6

Billam-Smith dispatched Okolie by majority decision to win the world title in May – but that doesn’t tell the true story of the fight.

The Gentleman’s power troubled Okolie throughout that bout and put him on the floor on three occasions.

The first of those knockdowns came in the fourth and, while it is easy to suggest that Okolie was short of his best at the Vitality, the Hackney fighter was a worthy world champion and a previously unbeaten performer.

Billam-Smith had a world champion on the canvas on three occasions and that has to bode well for his chances of getting Masternak out of the ring in swift fashion on Sunday evening.

The prices are going to follow the fact that Master has only been stopped once in a 52-fight career and that the Pole took Bellew the full 12-round distance.

However, the Bellew fight came way back in 2015 while Masternak last fought in November of 2022, so there are no guarantees that we will see anything like the fighter of old in Bournemouth.

In total it’s only two fights in the last two years for the Pole; even when the 35-year-old was more active back in 2021 he was contesting low-key bouts of questionable quality.

There are some pretty tasty prices on offer about Billam-Smith ending this fight in rounds 1-6 and, given the uncertainty over the inactivity, conditioning and remaining punch resistance of Masternak, that looks to be worth the punt.

Check out the rest of the betting options on the Billam-Smith vs. Masternak market here.

Take Time to Think | | 18+

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