FORMER WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew praised the ability of Bournemouth’s Chris Billam-Smith.

Bellew saw his own prospect in Craig Glover defeated by ‘The Gentleman’, when the Dorset fighter captured the Commonwealth title in Liverpool back in November.

That was Billam-Smith’s most recent contest, as he prepares to take on unbeaten Nathan Thorley at Matchroom’s Fight Camp on August 7.

Speaking about Billam-Smith with Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn, Bellew said: “He can fight, definitely.

“He’s got a very, very good left hook – especially on the counter as well - good footwork, is big at the weight.

“Everyone was going on to him before he fought Craig Glover, saying ‘how brave is he going to be when it gets tough?’

“But against Craig he didn’t need to get brave. He did the job in really good fashion.”

Daily Echo columnist Billam-Smith boasts a professional record of 10 victories and one defeat since September 2017.

Cardiff’s Thorley has knocked out six of his opponents on the way to 14 straight victories.