CHRIS Billam-Smith revealed how the biggest fight of his professional career had ignited a fire in his belly to deliver success.

The Bournemouth puncher is set to go toe-to-toe with fellow unbeaten star Richard Riakporhe for the WBA Inter-Continental Cruiserweight title at the O2 Arena in London on July 20.

Former Poole ABC man Billam-Smith revealed how his past four professional bouts had been “difficult” to get up for, having cruised to comfortable triumphs.

But with Londoner Riakporhe an undoubted step up in class, the 28-year-old insisted he had been “excited” to box for his first professional title.

He told Boxing Social: “It’s going to be great for me to get that first belt, then push on from there and look beyond that. For now, all eyes are on that.

“The fire in my belly is there. It’s exciting because I know who I am fighting with plenty of notice.

“I am excited, it’s been difficult for the past four fights to get up for them – that’s no disrespect to my opponents - I just felt they were comfortable fights.

“But you will definitely see the best of me in this fight and I cannot wait to get in there.”

Nicknamed ‘The Gentleman’, the Shane McGuigan-trained star also admitted he had envisaged fight night against Riakporhe, who has the exact same record in the professional ranks.

“You just zone in a little more because you know the opponent, you know his style and I have been watching him - visualising what he’s doing, how to get round it and getting the work done,” added Billam-Smith.

“Pad work has been great, sparring has been great. I have sparred a couple of heavyweights and have Lawrence (Okolie) in the gym as well, so we have also started sparring.

“There is more hype around it. It’s on a bigger show and there is going to be more coverage - that gets the fire in your belly because you just want to perform on that stage and that’s one thing I have always managed to do.”