WORLD champion Chris Billam-Smith revealed he plans to return to the ring in Bournemouth in November.

Billam-Smith, who turns 33 today, stunned previously WBO cruiserweight champion Lawrence Okolie to take the title at a blockbuster event at Vitality Stadium in May, winning by majority decision.

The Bournemouth hero is now back in the gym preparing for the first defence of his belt, which currently looks likely to be a rematch against Okolie, although that is not yet set in stone.

And Billam-Smith revealed a date in November is the plan for when he will be back in action, with the Bournemouth International Centre the suspected venue.

Billam-Smith’s return to the ring has been pushed back slightly, as he recovers from injuries sustained in his last bout.

He told the Daily Echo: “Originally we were looking at October, but just the scars of the eye need a bit longer, because I’m not going to be able to spar for another month or so.

“We need to make sure I’ve got enough time to spar.

“I think it will be down in Bournemouth my next fight, definitely. It will probably be at the BIC, we obviously can’t do the stadium during the season.

“But I think most likely it will be at the BIC in November. That’s the latest I’ve heard, which makes sense, to keep it down in Bournemouth.

“It’s just a shame there’s not a slightly bigger venue.

“I think you can fit 3,500-4,000 in the BIC for a boxing event. Having done 15,000 at a stadium, I’m sure they’ll be like hot cakes, which is obviously a very, very good position to be in and I’m very fortunate for that.”

Bournemouth Echo:

Prior to his dream Dean Court title fight, Billam-Smith previously boxed at the BIC in stunning displays against Isaac Chamberlain and Armend Xhoxhaj last year.

Asked how far along a potential second bout with Okolie was to being agreed, with the Londoner understood to have triggered his rematch clause, Billam-Smith said: “I think he’s activated it, but I’m not sure if that’s just because it gives them bargaining tools elsewhere or whatever it may be.

“But in my head I’m fighting Lawrence next, unless I hear otherwise from my team.

“I don’t know what the other conversations are at the moment. Lawrence is probably most likely maybe, unless they get him another fight or another route that he’s happy to accept, providing he is definitely in on this fight.

“I don’t really know, to be honest. But in my head, I’m just getting back into the gym, getting ready for a date in most likely November.”

Billam-Smith says he has not spoken to former gym-mate Okolie since the day after their previous fight in May.

The former Olympian said in the immediate aftermath of his defeat he wanted to fight Billam-Smith again, but there was suggestion he may rethink and instead move more towards heavyweight level.

“Words in immediate post-fight can be taken with a pinch of salt, because there is a lot of emotion, especially after a loss,” said Billam-Smith.

“A lot of people will say immediate rematch or whatever. I think once you’ve had time to dwell on it and have discussions you need to have with your family and your team, then things can definitely change.

“He’s huge at the weight and he struggles more than most because of his size.

“We’ll have to wait and see what happens.”