WHEN Chris Billam-Smith captured the commonwealth cruiserweight title in November, a blockbuster schedule was mapped out for the start of 2020.

A big televised show in Bournemouth was “as good as booked” for ‘The Gentleman’ to headline live on Sky Sports in his hometown – only for no opponent to be found for the Dorset puncher.

That then meant a May 9 date with unbeaten Nathan Thorley in Cardiff was announced – a contest that is still officially set to go ahead.

But with Matchroom Boxing currently postponing all events scheduled to take place in March and April due to COVID-19, there is real uncertainty as to when the Bournemouth star will finally get to defend his belt.

Add to that the fact Billam-Smith cannot do punching sessions with coach Shane McGuigan and can only train at his home in Winton at present, the 29-year-old has tried to remain as prepared as possible to fight.

“It’s a tough one,” said Billam-Smith, when asked by the Daily Echo what it is like to train for a bout that may not even take place.

“It’s training myself and going back to my amateur days a bit.

“It’s doing all my own runs, trying to write down my own schedule and get all the work in I can.

“I am doing a lot more running now. Usually we do two runs per week but I am running every day and I am not actually punching anything.

“I don’t have a bag at home, anyone on the pads or anything like that. I don’t think (fiancée) Mia would be the best pad person and I don’t want her putting in a gum shield either!

“I went to Bendall’s gym, cleaned everything down, robbed a bar bell, a few other weights and brought those home with me.

“I’ve stuck them in the garage and I am going to be in my front garden doing some weights. I might get a few strange looks from people but needs must!

“I have to train as is if it’s going ahead.

“We will be as prepared as we can be but with boxing, the important stuff is punching and sparring and you can’t do that at the moment.

“It’s really frustrating on a number of levels. You win a belt, you’ve got that momentum and you want to keep it going.”

Avid Cherries fan Billam-Smith usually spends Monday to Friday training with world-renowned coach McGuigan’s stable, before returning to Bournemouth on weekends.

And, like a lot of the nation, he is finding working from home a bizarre situation.

“Being home usually, this is where I spend my downtime, so it’s trying to flip my mindset,” said the former Poole ABC star.

“I am used to coming home at the weekends here, maybe doing one session and then relaxing.

“I have got to change the mindset I am in because it’s all the opposite at the moment. You’ve got to keep grafting hard and you can’t see anyone.

“While Mia is working, I am trying to do my training then. It’s good in a way in that because we are not allowed out, or eating out, we are having breakfast together, cooking together and stuff like that – which is nice to do.

“Mia is not used to having me around all the time. She is working from home now, which she’s also not used to doing. A lot has changed.

“You’ve got to try and stay out your partner’s hair and not annoy them too much because they are not used to having you home!”

Billam-Smith is also faced with the brutal fact that in professional boxing - if you can’t fight, you simply don’t earn money.

With no current sponsors, the commonwealth champion, who plans to get married in Italy in August, admitted times had been “difficult”.

“There’s the side of getting paid as a boxer. You’re not on a wage. You don’t get paid if you don’t fight. It’s testing times,” said the Dorset star.

“It’s difficult, especially being the year it is for me and Mia. We are meant to be getting married in August. It’s a difficult one with regards to money.

“Most boxers have sponsors. At the moment, I don’t actually have any, we were in the process of looking for more.

“That’s probably been put on hold because companies aren’t going to want to part with their money in a crisis like this.”

With both Italy and the England shut down due to coronavirus at present, the fighter admitted both he and partner Mia would have to see what happens regarding their big day.

“I am very much somebody who goes with the flow and you can only control what you can control,” he added.

“It’s tough for Mia because she is looking forward to it. She has done all the planning for it.

“The amount of work she has put in, how good it would look and how excited we both were for it – and all of our family and friends were.

“At the moment it is looking unlikely because of the money situation but also whether we are going to be able to go to Italy at that time.

“We have friends and family who are losing money through their businesses and they might not be able to come out and celebrate with us. Would we really want to do it without them there?

“There’s a lot of factors with it, we just have to go with the flow and stay positive.

“At the moment deposits are paid and stuff like that, so there is no point in cancelling or postponing just yet. We can probably leave it another month and then start making decisions.

“We are getting officially married here as well at the end of August – that can still go ahead providing everything is up and running by then.

“We will just have to wait and see what happens.”