CHRIS Billam-Smith retained his WBO cruiserweight title with a dramatic win over Mateusz Masternak, who retired hurt.

Little over six months on from that incredible night at Vitality Stadium where Billam-Smith defeated Lawrence Okolie to become world champion, The Gentleman was back entertaining his home fans, this time at the BIC.

And he looked to be struggling for much of the gruelling contest, before Masternak retired hurt at the start of the eighth round, having taken a big shot to the body.

It takes Billam-Smith’s professional record to 19-1, 36-year-old Masternak’s now reading 47-6.

A cacophony of noise greeted the opening bell, including a vocal section of Masternak supporters.

Billam-Smith started on the front foot, although the experienced Pole was doing good work on the inside. Masternak then connected with a string of shots in round two.

Both men continued to trade hefty blows in the frantic start, Billam-Smith seemingly having to withstand the majority of the shots.

Masternak fans were enjoying what they were seeing, at times drowning out Billam-Smith’s huge home following.

Midway through the contest, battle wounds were visible for both, Billam-Smith often looking to Shane McGuigan in his corner.

And the Bournemouth star seemed to be turning a corner with a strong seventh round.

That would prove to be the end of the evening, Masternak not returning from his corner at the start of the eighth, sparking wild scenes of celebration as Billam-Smith retained his world crown.

Earlier in the night, Poole puncher Lee Cutler was crowned English super-welterweight champion, with a unanimous points victory over Kingsley Egbunike.

Cutler, who ended the contest with blood streaming from his left eye, claimed victory after a gripping showdown.

Two judges scored the contest 97-93, the other going 96-95 to Chaos.

It takes Cutler’s professional record to 14-1, Egbunike now 8-3-1.

Cutler was competing under the watchful eye of Josh Pritchard for the first time, having made the switch to the McGuigan’s gym and away from Kev Thorniley in recent months.

Cutler made a patient start, the pair trading left jabs as the taller Egbunike tried to keep Chaos at range.

A flurry near the start of the fourth round from Egbunike appeared to spark Cutler into life, with an eye-catching response of his own.

Cutler then appeared to be getting on the front foot. Cheered on by Barry and Shane McGuigan, the 27-year-old forced Egbunike back towards his own corner, before a scrappy finish to the round against the ropes.

The barrage continued into round six, Obi doing well to withstand two big flurries from Cutler, before being saved by the bell.

But the Acton ace responded again, working his way back into the contest, before tiring.

The pace had noticeably slowed during round eight, before two explosive final rounds.

Two big left jabs to the face eventually led to Egbunike slipping to the canvas.

Both men landed shots in the final round, Cutler seeing his left eye bust open, before the Poole man responded with a strong finish of his own.

Earlier in the night Ben Whittaker produced a brutal stoppage to beat Stiven Leonetti Dredhaj and there were also convincing points wins for fellow Brits Michael McKinson, Francesca Hennessy and Lauren Price.