Chris Ballam-Smith defeated Lawrence Okolie in May this year to become the WBO cruiserweight champion.
33-year-old Ballam Smith (18-1-0) opened up to Zenger News recently in an interview on winning more unifying belts and his hopes to become an undisputed champion at crusierwieght.
“It was a dream come true for me. [It was a] hard round against Lawrence Okolie, but yeah, obviously, I’m over the moon with it and glad I got the job done.””
The thrilling all-Brit match held at the Vitality stadium in Bournemouth was held in front of 15,000 fans saw Ballam- Smith win with a majority decision.
“I knew I’d improve since I’d spied him last. So yeah, massive upset for some people, but we knew in the camp what I was capable of.
Chris Ballam-Smith wants to fight again and soon in November or December, depending on availability of key opponents.
He is also keen to see more fights take place outside of London to help build fighters regionally as well as more firmly root the sport across the country.
“ You can’t build stars selling out the O2 from the off – unless they come back with an Olympic gold medal. So it’s difficult to do so, but you’ve got to build them locally.”
Ballam-Smith used the example of former light welterweight champion Ricky Hatton as a fight who built a local fan base before becoming a national product. Hatton, long sense retired, is still an active boxing trainer, including of heavyweight contender Nathan Gorman.
“Then the whole country fell in love with him. And I think that’s how it’s got to be done. I think that the most important thing is build fighters locally. And for them as well, it’s better for the fighters to gain that experience of growing themselves with their fan base. Because if you go through a massive fan base straight away and try and push it and all the pressure is on you, it’s important especially for the young fighters””
Didn’t stay up to watch the Canelo fight in early September as he had just been out the night before to see Jai Opetaia v Jordan Thompson. Had Thompson won, it would have seet up an easy unification fight between him and Ballam-Smith. Instead Opetaia stopped the Briton in fourth round to retain IBF world title.
“So, you know, for me, it’s about unifying the belts and then becoming undisputed as a champion. The cruiserweight, I think it’s easy to do in terms of where the belts are, who’s got it, and people willing to work together; then we can make it happen, and it’d be great. You know, we’ve obviously already had an undisputed champion recently in Olexandr Usyk, so it’d be unbelievable to have the next one.”
Ballam-Smith has no problem with Heavyweight champion Tyson Fury’s upcoming fight with the UFC’s Francis Ngannou, especially since Fury has already signed to fight Alexander Usyk in his next fight after Ngannou. Fury’s heavyweight titles will not be on the line for the Ngannou fight.
“ As long as the [undisputed unification fight with Alexander Usyk] is signed, I don’t mind it too much. You sort of get that privilege when you’re a big name and a massive name like [Tyson Fury]. All the power to him for earning all the money and whatever—But don’t hold a belt hostage. No one wants to see that because the sport’s got to carry on. And thankfully it looks like that. You know, Fury Usyk is signed, so it’s interesting to see that.”
Ballam-Smith has a humble and workmen-like approach to his career in boxing. He has accomplished more than most professionals but, still believes there are many more mountains for him to climb.
“I’m just a regular guy. I know a lot of people say I just loved sport as a kid, and that’s what got me into boxing. I’ve got a wife and a son at home; they’re the most important thing. And I’m a provider for them. So, I just try to be a better person every day in all areas of my life.”