CHRIS Billam-Smith felt “honoured” to play his part in an historic Bournemouth sporting weekend, admitting he “felt the pressure” to keep the feel-good factor going in the town.

On Saturday, Cherries recorded stunning 3-0 victory against Manchester United in the Premier League.

Bournemouth favourite and avid Cherries fan Billam-Smith was then roared on by a sold-out BIC on Sunday night, defending his WBO cruiserweight title against Mateusz Masternak.

And despite struggling for parts of the contest, the 33-year-old emerged victorious, to crown one of the best sporting weekends in Bournemouth’s history.

Asked how proud he was to be part of such success for the town, after the football club’s first ever win at Old Trafford the previous day, Billam-Smith told the Daily Echo: “Up the Cherries!

“Unbelievable, winning 3-0 at Old Trafford, not many teams get to boast that.

“I felt the pressure a little bit to top off the weekend and go into this week as a happy town.

“I saw a couple of the players in the crowd, so I was grateful to them for coming.

“I’m honoured to be part of this town and what’s going on in it at the moment from a sporting perspective.

“The last 10 years or more in the football has been crazy. I obviously have a massive place in my heart for the club and I got to win a world title there.

“Now to defend it on a weekend which is an epic result at Old Trafford. I’m truly honoured to be part of this and very lucky.”

Bournemouth Echo:

Discussing his performance against Masternak, who retired hurt at the start of the eighth round, Billam-Smith said: “I’m pleased with the win and pleased with the stoppage.

“It’s the best job anyone has ever done on him.

“It was not my best performance, but I did a lot of stuff really well and adapted well through the fight.

“It was not the best version of me and I’m still doing the best job on someone like Masternak, who started boxing in 2005 as a pro. I started boxing in 2007 as a keep-fitter at the time!

“It’s crazy, he’s been a pro my entire amateur and pro career and I’ve watched him through the years.

“I have so much respect for him and feared him going into the fight, rightly so because of the experience and everything he’s done in the game.

“It was an honour to share a ring with him.

“To be able to learn in a world title defence and know there is so much more is exciting.”

He added: “I felt really calm and controlled. The punches weren’t doing any damage to me.

“I felt probably too comfortable. That’s probably why I was switching off a little bit at times and trying too hard.

“But I found my feet in the sixth and seventh and was really excited for the last five rounds.

“I thought I could start turning the screw and within three rounds get him out of there, then obviously he pulled out.”