Echo columnist Chris Billam-Smith says he’s ready for Eddie Hearn’s Fight Camp, as it takes him back to his amateur days.

I haven’t had an alcoholic drink since August 2014.

But the weather down the beach last Sunday gave me my biggest craving for a cider in six years.

There was never a chance I would’ve caved, but, if there was, that would’ve been it.

Looking ahead, Eddie Hearn revealed plans this week for his new Matchroom ‘Fight Camp’ which will be shows put on in the garden of the Matchroom Promotions headquarters.


🙏🏽 #FightCamp

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It’s a very new and different concept to what we are used to but it takes me back to a specific fight during my amateur days, fighting outside in a tent, in Brentwood.

It was my ABA Elite quarter-final against a lad who I had beaten in the novice semi-finals 18-17 the year before.

Safe to say I’d grafted a lot since the first fight and it really showed when I beat him 44-11 next time round.

Fight Camp is a concept I’d be very keen and happy to be involved in.

Bournemouth Echo:

A question I got in this week was also about my amateur days and it comes in from Ollie Stephens.

He asks, what are your memories from your first amateur fight?

I remember it very vividly. November 10, 2007.

I stayed at my brothers the night before so I wouldn’t have to work my four-hour shift at TK Maxx during the day!

I called them to say I was ill and wouldn’t be in. My mum (rightly so) would never have allowed me a day off work and then to box in the evening.

I woke up and had Weetabix at my brother’s flat in Southbourne. I couldn’t eat anything else for rest of day as I didn’t know how much weight I’d put on.

The fight was at Weymouth Pavilion and the weigh-in was between 5pm and 7pm.

I drove down there in my silver S-Reg one litre Vauxhall Corsa with my mate Mike and my girlfriend at the time.

I got weighed in and we went to ‘refuel’ at Subway on a baguette and cookies!

I was on quite late and we were watching the early fights with some other friends who had come to watch me and Dean Perkins (one of my groomsmen to be, who got me into boxing).

Mike asked me how I was and I said: “Yeah great mate, can’t wait to get my hand raised.”

My girlfriend at the time didn’t quite understand the mentality side of the sport and said: “Well, don’t get your hopes up.”

I know she didn’t mean it in a bad way but I couldn’t have that conversation at that moment and off I stormed to the changing room to get ready.

I walked to the ring to a raucous support of around 10-15 people as the rest of the room politely clapped.

The fight was good, I jabbed really well – really, really well.

In fact, all I did was jab as I moved off to my left. I’m surprised me, my opponent or the ref didn’t pass out from dizziness! In the third round I was moving back near my corner and I heard my coach shout: “ONE, TWO CHRIS!”

I thought to myself ‘oh yeah I am allowed to throw other punches’, so I threw a one, two and both landed flush.

It went to points and I won by unanimous decision.

Bournemouth Echo:

My hand got raised and I just walked round the ring wagging my right forefinger.

I had no idea how to celebrate but, in that moment, I felt invincible.

This period off has given me plenty of time to reminisce about such great memories and I can’t wait to have that winning feeling again.

Hopefully, that comes in Essex in July – live on Sky Sports, with zero fans in attendance!

Thanks for your questions.

If anyone would like to ask any for next week, please contact below.


Instagram/Twitter: @ChrisBillam

Peace out,