This is a good fight for the Commonwealth Cruiserweight title. Chris Billam-Smith has proved he’s one of the top Cruiserweights in the UK by beating Craig Glover and in my opinion beating Richard Riakporhe though he didn’t get the decision. Smith will be looking to win in good fashion here so he can move on to bigger fights and potentially get a shot at the British title next year.
Chris Billam-Smith has a good amateur background and it shows when he fights as he’s very comfortable in the ring. He has good fundamentals and I like how he tries to work on the inside when people hold him (Riakporhe). I think he has a solid jab but the best part of his skill set for me is that he uses a lot of feints which I think is something you need to be a world class fighter. He’s normally decent defensively though I do think he needs to move his head off the center line a bit more as when he’s jabbing hes wide open to counters. This is only a thing I noticed in the Craig Glover fight though and while he got hit a decent amount in that fight I get the impression from interviews that he couldn’t feel Glover’s power at all so almost didn’t notice how much he was getting hit.
In other fights he’s been defensively responsible and this only starts to fail a bit when he gets tired and I don’t necessarily think thats a stamina issue as the fight he got tired in he was held and leaned over the ropes constantly. He also seems to hold decent power though we’ll see more in this fight how real it is as Craig Glover is known for not having a great chin.
Nathan Thorley is currently 14-0 but has mostly faced journeymen and hasn’t been taken into deep waters like Billam-Smith has. He seems to have a decent jab which he often puts a right hand behind but its only really been against journeymen so far so its hard to tell if he’ll be able to establish it versus Smith. He throws in combination but at Cruiserweight his punches don’t seem to have all that much power. He seems to like throwing uppercuts both by them self and in combinations. I think this could lead him to success as Riakporhe was landing uppercuts through his fight with Smith and hurt him with a couple.
He keeps his hands low and isn’t hard to hit as shown by Journeymen landing combinations as he stands still for no apparent reason. With the way he fights I presume hes a counter puncher who has to go on the offense versus Journeymen as he seems to spend a long time waiting between combinations. When he’s not throwing shots he’ll move his gloves and upper body around making it harder for opponents to hit him but unfortunately he doesn’t do this consistently or effectively from what I’ve seen. I do like the idea of it and it does work sometimes but because his opponents put out so little offense it feels like he gets lazy and stops doing it. With an opponent going for him he may step up as some fighters do and there is a little bit of evidence for this as when he has fought people coming to win he KO’s them. The only exception to that rule is Adam Jones and to be fair to Thorley no one has ever stopped him so it’s understandable for him to go to a decision there.
I believe that Chris Billam-Smith will win this fight by KO as Thorley doesn’t have the reaction speed required to fight with his hands so low and be effective with it. Smith has a power advantage and I think his combinations are crisper and overall a bit more fluid. For Thorley to win he needs to counter the jab early and put a bit more power into his shots. Billam-Smith like a lot of Cruiserweights isn’t a defensive genius and Thorley is perfectly capable of catching him coming in especially with the uppercut he likes to throw.