By Jonathan Nagioff (@jonathannagioff)
Cruiserweight Chris Billam-Smith maintained his unbeaten start to his professional career with a crushing 5th round TKO victory over Gheorghe Danut on his return to Bournemouth.
‘The Gentleman’ floored Danut (11,27,7) in the fourth round and despite climbing back up from the blow, the Romanian retired on his stall at the end of the fifth round.
Billam-Smith, formerly of Bendall’s Gym and now trained by Shane McGuigan, returned to Bournemouth for the first time since his debut.
The 27-year-old has been relatively untested in his previous four bouts, recording four knockout successes but his seasoned foe was aiming to spoil the party and came out of the blocks quickly.
There was a clear height difference between the pair with Billam-Smith, who stands at 6’3” holding a major reach advantage over 5’8” Danut, but that did not deter him from letting his hands go and connecting with a crisp right hand.
The Gentleman responded with a left hand of his own, to the delight of the 900-capacity crowd inside the o2, who were roaring his name from the outset.
Billam-Smith stamped his authority on the bout with a lightning left hook in the second round and continued this domination with some jolting combination blows and his ever-present jab, which was causing his rival plenty of problems.
Danut, whose previous two bouts were both held in the UK, had a smile on his face as he appeared to shrug off the string of accurate blows.
The former Poole ABC prodigy piled on more punishment in the third and Danut resorted to holding tactics, as the fight slipped further away from his grasp.
Danut, to his credit provided durable opposition but began to come apart in the fourth round with Billam-Smith unleashing further, crushing shots.
And his resilience was broken when the home favourite sent over a powerful left hook to the body which sent him to the canvas.
The seasoned veteran got up but faced further punishment in the fifth as Billam-Smith looked to finish the job off.
A barrage of combination punches from Billam-Smith to head and body went unanswered and despite the referee allowing the contest to continue to the end of the round, Danut saved himself from another gruelling round and retired on his stall enabling Billam-Smith to claim a hard-fought win.