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Chris Billam-Smith targeting Tommy McCarthy or Richard Riakporhe rematch for later in 2021

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Chris Billam-Smith returns Saturday, and is hoping for bigger fights as the year goes on.

M and S Bank Arena Boxing Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images

Cruiserweight Chris Billam-Smith won’t be facing his originally scheduled opponent on Saturday’s Okolie-Glowacki card (DAZN, Mar. 20, 3 pm ET), but Vasil Ducar has stepped in to replace Deion Jumah, and the show will go on for the 30-year-old “Gentleman.”

Billam-Smith (11-1, 10 KO) has become a fighter to look forward to on recent Matchroom cards, dating back to his 2019 battle with Richard Riakporhe, where he lost a 10-round split decision to what was then a much more heavily-pushed prospect. His spirit impressed a lot of people — especially as it was seen as a big step up — and his last two wins over Craig Glover and Nathan Thorley have both come by stoppage, with Billam-Smith winning the Commonwealth title against Glover.

Ducar (9-3-1, 8 KO) doesn’t have the pretty record, but the 31-year-old Czech fighter is being taken very seriously by Billam-Smith and his team.

“Vasil Ducar was out sparring Mairis Briedis with me about a year ago and he’s very tough. He’s been in with some very good fighters who couldn’t get him out of there so I will be looking to go one better and end the fight inside the ten rounds,” Billam-Smith said.

“(Trainer) Shane (McGuigan) also tells me how tough he is but my response to that is, let’s see! He’s never been stopped and can clearly punch with eight of his nine wins coming by knockout. This is a good challenge for me at this stage of my career.”

If Billam-Smith gets past this one, he’s hoping to line up a fight in his hometown, and has a couple of names in mind.

“I would love to headline a show in Bournemouth later this year when crowds have returned,” he said. “The Tommy McCarthy fight for the European title really excites me or the rematch with Richard Riakporhe, but right now it’s all focus on Ducar.”

Bad Left Hook will have live coverage for Okolie-Glowacki on Saturday, March 20, starting at 3 pm ET streaming live on DAZN.