CHRIS Billam-Smith says he has “a lot of thinking to do” after his love-hate relationship with boxing’s Elite National Championships continued with a painful quarter-final defeat.

The Poole heavyweight will start the healing process by taking a four-day break in Barcelona with girlfriend Mia.

Billam-Smith admitted he was “gutted” to come out on the wrong side of a split decision against teenage London powerhouse Viddal Riley.

It represented a third last-eight defeat in the prestigious competition for Billam-Smith, a two-time beaten finalist. His only other tilt at the domestic crown ended in a semi-final loss.

Billam-Smith told the Daily Echo: “I have tried to put it behind me as quickly as possible but I am gutted. Nobody has been as consistent as me in this competition.

“It’s difficult to take, because the whole year in amateur boxing is based around these championships.

“There is nothing you can do, though, life goes on, so you have to make the most of it and get on with it.

“I didn’t box my best but he was a good fighter. He boxed in the Youth Olympic Games three years ago, so he is no mug.

“It could have gone either way. He had a point deducted in the last round because his gumshield kept coming out. It came out twice and the ref warned him that if it happened again he would lose a point, so I was just trying to stick it on him and get it out – that was my tactic.

“I thought that point would have swung it my way, because I felt I won the last round – but it wasn’t to be.”

The first third of Billam-Smith’s 2017 was entirely geared towards his efforts to land an elusive national title in Rotherham.

While he is understandably miffed, though, his thoughts must quickly turn towards his future in the sport. Specifically, whether he should continue as an amateur or enter the paid ranks.

Nevertheless, that decision can wait until he has enjoyed his holiday in Catalonia, a present for Mia, who has seen little of her other half since the turn of the year.

"I always try to get away after the Championships,” said Billam-Smith. “I train from January to April, everything builds towards that one weekend.

“It is a long stint and it takes its toll.

“I bought the break as a Christmas present for my girlfriend, she has always wanted to go to Barcelona. It is a chance for both of us to relax.

“It is stressful for her as well, when I am training and making weight and not getting in until 9pm every night. She deserves it.

“When I am back I will have a chat with a few people and see what offers are on the table.

“My amateur club have said they will support me, whatever I choose to do. I have a lot of thinking to do.

“Then I can get to work on the next phase of my career.”