Matchroom Sports presents round two of Fight Camp and Betfair's boxing writer Frankie Monkhouse previews...
"we go in search of a value bet and hope Thorley can keep out of trouble in the opening exchanges."
Boxing's chance to shine
Matchroom Boxing supremo Eddie Hearn presents the second instalment of his Fight Camp series from Brentwood as another group of rising stars put reputation and record on the line. There will be no audience in attendance but the five-bout card will be screened to a bumper audience on the Sky Sports network.
The programme is headlined by a Commonwealth cruiserweight showdown between Chris Billam-Smith and rival Nathan Thorley over the championship distance of 12 rounds. Terri Harper and Natasha Jones face-off in the chief support with two world female super featherweights belts on the line while followers also enjoy Anthony Fowler's return to action against Adam Harper.
All exciting, well matched bouts designed to sell boxing to a wider audience during these testing times. You can also ramp up your interest with a bet on the outcome of each contest thanks to Betfair. Pick your winners or play one of the many eye-catching specials.
Billam-Smith boasts nine KO wins
We focus on the main event as Bourmemouth's Billam-Smith aims to improve both his domestic and world rankings with a win in what has been billed as a crossroads fight for the 30-year-old. He enters bout 12 of his career with a professional record reading 10 wins against one defeat. On closer inspection of that card we note nine of his victories have come by way of knockout with the spare loss a points defeat.
The Gentleman was edged on a split decision by Richard Riakporhe at the O2 Arena last summer when contesting the WBA Inter-Continental title on the undercard of Dillian Whyte v Oscar Rivas. Billam-Smith was undone by a 94-95, 96-93, 92-97 score that night, one judge ruling in his favour but the other two going against him. It's no secret he is desperate for the rematch against Riakporhe but is intelligent enough to know that won't happen unless he impresses on Friday.
The 6ft 3inch orthodox boxer got back to winning ways at the first time of asking thanks to a solid fifth round TKO of Craig Glover who was 10-2-0 at the time, knocking his man to the canvas three times before the bout was waved off. Billam-Smith to claim another victory here is 1/14 on the Betfair Sportsbook. There's better to be had in the method of victory betting with another KO/TKO trading at 1/4 or 4/1 if you prefer the points win.
Thorley yet to go the championship distance
Some may believe opponent Thorley is here simply to make up the numbers and the pre-bout betting for this one would certainly suggest that, but it's not the case and to simply write him off could be a costly error. The 27-year-old Welshman is here on merit and will enter the ring carrying the confidence that comes from a 14-0-0 perfect record. Undefeated in a professional career reaching back to 2015 he has taken out six of his victims inside the distance.
The 6ft 4inch battler from Cardiff brings an impressive CV but it doesn't quite stand up under the spotlight. The reason for that is he is making a major step up in class when fighting Billam-Smith and is yet to compete beyond the eight-round mark. Nathan was scheduled to fight a 10 rounder against Jermaine Asare for the Welsh title back in 2017 but his power meant he finished things inside two that evening. Question marks hang over his ability to last the 12-round distance.
Thorley's recent opponents don't do much to inspire confidence in the underdog either. The last three he has beaten have a combined record of 43 wins against 268 defeats and 12 draws. That goes some way to explaining why Thorley is as big as 8/1 on the Sportsbook to cause an upset in Essex. A points cheer is market best price 13/1 at Betfair with traders happy to stick their necks on the line with that bet.
Step up should be too much
There's no denying Thorley is a fighter heading in the right direction but his record shows he has been well looked after in the pro ranks while his opponent has been campaigning at a much higher level. This is a massive step up for the underdog and he should realise that early.
Billam-Smith is hot favourite and out of reach of ordinary players backing the fight winner market. Instead we go in search of a value bet and hope Thorley can keep out of trouble in the opening exchanges. The Welshman is experienced enough to know standing and trading with his rival early could spark a prompt return to the dressing room. We're taking Billam-Smith in rounds 5-8 for an interest bet at 8/5 (Betfair Sportsbook).