By Owen McKendry
9 months after their 1st encounter, Chris Billam-Smith and Tommy McCarthy are set to share the squared circle once again in a grudge rematch for the European & Commonwealth Cruiserweight titles.
The rematch takes place after Billam-Smith picked up a controversial split decision win over McCarthy back in July 2021, an outcome which subsequently drew heavy criticism of the official scorecards. The fight went a grueling 12 rounds in what was a fight of two halves, leaving fans in a state of high anticipation regarding the rematch.
A fantastic start from Billam-Smith saw him take control of the fight, however a late McCarthy fightback saw both warriors standing at the final bell after a brilliant domestic showing. The main, subsequent controversy was caused by judge Ian John-Lewis, who, not for the first time, produced a widely differing scorecard in comparison to his fellow judges, controversy which has led directly to this upcoming rematch.
Billam-Smith has agreed to defend his title, and comes in to the contest on the back of a comfortable unanimous decision win over Frenchman Dylan Bregeon; whereas for McCarthy, this is his first fight since the Billam-Smith loss. Only time will tell as to whether McCarthy's gamble in not taking a tune-up fight during the interim will reap its intended reward, or not.
The bookmakers have Billam-Smith a huge odds-on favourite, however McCarthy will be looking to overturn these odds and take home the European title. Following the question marks surrounding the scorecards last year, fans will be hoping both men step into the ring with the intention of taking the result out of the ringside judge's purview.
Billam-Smith and McCarthy once again promises to bring fireworks, much needed when looking at the rest of the Conor Benn vs Van Heerden card, with fans and pundits alike hoping for a repeat of their last fight. This grudge match has the capacity to be a career defining night for both men, with Billam-Smith, if victorious, likely to then look for larger challenges upon the world stage, with McCarthy needing victory on Saturday to kickstart his career.
Saturday night promises to be a great night of boxing and both fighters will be looking to steal the news headlines from the main event. The fight will likely start off tentatively, however with the styles of both fighters and with the history of their previous fight, fans can be assured that this fight will be an all-out war between two great domestic rivals.