By Jonathan Nagioff (@jonathannagioff)
Trainer Shane McGuigan wants his protégé Chris Billam-Smith to fight for a title next after overseeing a gutsy points win over Michal Plesnik on Saturday night.
Billam-Smith battled past the durable Slovak and won every single round in an explosive victory at Boscombe’s o2 academy, scored by the referee 80-72.
The win moves the 27-year-old to 6 wins from as many bouts and McGuigan is targeting a shot at Wadi Camacho’s Southern Area title.
Former Commonwealth champion Luke Watkins, who lost his title to Lawrence Okolie earlier this month is also a target.
McGuigan told the Bournemouth Rock: “He’s done 8 hard rounds. Although he set that pace, that was a frantic pace. The guy kept letting his hands go in retaliation every time.
“If he can do 8 rounds like that he can do 10 rounds, no doubt about it.
“Especially when someone’s coming to win they’re not going to force you to throw that much, they’re going to be a bit more calculated, so the pace will be slightly slower.
“I thought it was a really good learning fight and I want him to fight someone like Wadi Camacho, Tony Conquest was saying he was going to make a return. People like that, even Luke Watkins.
“We want guys who have won titles, fought for titles as well. We want to test ourselves against guys that have been there and done it.”
McGuigan was thoroughly impressed with ‘The Gentleman’ and believes it was a perfect learning fight for him against another durable opponent.
Plesnik fell to the canvas on several occasions but climbed back up when a legitimate knockdown was called in round seven.
He added: “Chris had to learn how to layer his shots tonight. In a small ring as well, he was forced to fight in that middle distance and short range as well, so he ticked every box I thought.
“I thought he worked the combinations well, varied the power, picked the body shots out.
“He went a little bit head crazy at one point and then started switching it downstairs to the body. But it was brilliant, exactly what we need.
“It was a bit of a shame it wasn’t televised because we could have put him on a tv show and that would have been a great fight for a tv show but it’s all learning for him no matter what.”