IF stepping into the biggest fight of your career was not enough of a challenge – imaging trying to plan the perfect wedding proposal at the same time.

That was exactly the aim for Bournemouth’s cruiserweight sensation Chris Billam-Smith, who has been through some of the most important moments of his life in and out of the ring over the past two months.

Nicknamed ‘The Gentleman’ the 28-year-old recently took girlfriend Mia to Kynance Cove in Cornwall to pop the question.

The pair are set to travel to Italy next week to look at wedding venues – just after the Shane McGuigan-trained star tomorrow bids to stop unbeaten Richard Riakporhe and claim the WBA Inter-Continental Cruiserweight title.

Like any professional athlete, you need a good team behind you to make success happen.

And in his fiancée, Billam-Smith remains eternally grateful.

“I was nervous in the sense of getting it right in the way I proposed,” said the Dorset fighter.

“It wasn’t like I ever doubted that she was going to say yes! But it was very nerve-wracking for sure. The sea was bright blue and the weather was good to me – I was lucky that day.

“Three days after this fight we are off to Italy for what I was hoping was going to be a holiday but I don’t know whether it is going to be one now!

“It’s going to be hectic squeezing in 10 venues in about three days but at least I get to eat some pizza and pasta, so it’ll be nice.

“It’s mad how much Mia does. She has sold all my tickets for this camp.

“I was injured when we first got together and she didn’t really know what boxing was because I didn’t box for a whole year – she didn’t know how much it meant to me.

“At first it was all right, it was all fun and she saw it as my hobby but didn’t realise how seriously I took it.

“Now she gets a little more nervous with each fight because they are getting bigger and bigger. She is good as gold – I had to put a ring on it quick before someone snapped her up!”

A typical boxer would dedicate the most important performance of his career to date to the one he loves. Not Billam-Smith however – he is looking much, much bigger.

“It’s a team game and we win together,” he added.

“There will be bigger fights and bigger wins – she deserves to have something bigger than just this fight. She deserves something very, very big.

“She has been through thick and thin with me. There has been some tough times but she is my rock.

“We are hoping to get married next summer, so we have to fit it all in.

“She was sending me venues all the time. I had to have a word and say ‘look, I’ve got other things to focus on! You plan the trip to Italy and I trust you to pick where you want to go’.

“Sometimes now and again I come back and I tread on my toes a little bit because she is not used to having me around, 99 per cent of the time she’s happy to see me!

“We have done really well on tickets for this fight. She has sold all of those and it completely takes the pressure off me. I am so lucky to have that and she is an absolute angel.”

With Mia in his corner, the former Poole ABC man is set to step out on pay-per-view at a packed O2 Arena in London against defending champion Riakporhe – live on Sky Box Office.

Asked what it was like for Mia to deal with Billam-Smith’s rise in profile, he replied: “She still makes me do the housework – don’t worry about that!

“She still has a go at me for not picking stuff up around the house. I am still the same person and nothing changes.

“But she is so supportive and does so much for me, especially on fight week when my weight is coming down and my mood changes. I owe her a lot.”