CHRIS Billam-Smith says it was not difficult to get an unusual Sunday fight night agreed, insisting: “I can’t fight the same day as Bournemouth are away.”

Avid Cherries fan Billam-Smith will put his WBO cruiserweight title on the line next month, facing experienced Pole Mateusz Masternak at the latest BOXXER show at the Bournemouth International Centre.

It will be the first time Billam-Smith has boxed since stunning previously unbeaten Lawrence Okolie to become world champion on a memorable night in front of around 15,000 fans at Vitality Stadium in May.

But rather than the traditional Saturday fight night at the BIC, the Gentleman will be in action on Sunday, December 10, a day after Cherries go to Manchester United in the Premier League.

Asked how much he had to push to secure the date, Billam-Smith told the Daily Echo: “It wasn’t hard. I just said I can’t fight the same day as Bournemouth are away, all the way in Manchester.

“Maybe if it was a slightly closer game. They’re not in our league anymore, but Southampton or somewhere like that, then it could’ve been done.

“But I think with it being so far away, no-one would’ve been able to get back in time and it just didn’t make sense for anyone.

“It’s no good for me, because you lose so much atmosphere with the fans. It’s no good for them, it’s no good for the broadcasters, BOXXER. Everyone was in favour of that.”

Billam-Smith recently suggested his next bout may have to take place in London, due to possible ticket demand following his spectacular stadium show, the BIC only able to hold around a fifth of what Dean Court can.

He explained: “I thought maybe we might have to go elsewhere, but then I thought how many people are going to travel when they’ve been so fortunate to have three fights back-to-back on their doorstep?

“Obviously the last one being so big it made sense to go back down there.

“I think everyone wanted it down there. BOXXER wanted it down in Bournemouth.

“It’s just a shame there’s not a slightly bigger arena for the people who might miss out when it sells out.

“For me, obviously I want to fight in Bournemouth, until I fight in Vegas once! But if I’m fighting in England, I want to be fighting in Bournemouth as much as possible.”

Bournemouth Echo: Some Cherries players watched on from ringside in MaySome Cherries players watched on from ringside in May (Image: Richard Crease)

Pre-sale tickets sold out before the show went on sale to the general public.

“It’s amazing, the support has always been phenomenal from the fans down in Bournemouth,” said the 33-year-old.

“They’ve created unbelievable atmospheres, unbelievable nights and people say what a great night it is and thank me for it. But they’re the ones who create the atmosphere.

“Obviously I do my job in the ring, but they’re the ones that get me to live my dream. I got into the sport because of atmosphere and the pre-sale sold out.

“(My wife) Mia has sold loads of tickets already on our behalf. It’s just a phenomenal reception from the town and I’m so lucky to have such a great fanbase down there.”