Chris Billam-Smith made a successful first defense of his European cruiserweight title with a unanimous points decision over France’s Dylan Bregeon after a hard-fought 12 rounds on the Galahad-Martinez bill in Sheffield.
There were few highlights in what turned into a war of attrition. Billam-Smith – the WBA No 3, IBF No 4 and WBC No 7 - was generally the more aggressive and he finished well, although he often crowded his work and struggled to get clean shot off.
After a messy first round, Billam-Smith stepped up in the second round, forcing Bregeon back with the jab and then forcing Bregeon to cling on after landing with a heavy right.
The Frenchman smothered Billam-Smith for much of the third round and then gained the confidence to land shots up close.
For the next two rounds, Billiam-Smith cut an increasingly frustrated figure, as he tried to land the right, but struggled to get any room to put leverage into his punches.
Billam-Smith, who was making the first defense of the title he won from Tommy McCarthy at Fight Camp in July, got through with a series if rights n the sixth, but it was becoming a bit of a slog, with lots of mauling up close and little clean action.
Late in the ninth, a concerted attack by Billam-Smith seemed to hurt Begeon, as he landed a good body shot and uppercut. There were also signs that Bregeon was starting to tire. With a minute to go in the round, Billam-Smith piled on the pressure, landing a series of rights and then lefts to the body as Bregeon tried to cover up and get away from trouble.
In the last two rounds, Billam-Smith piled forward but Bregeon seemed content just to see out the distance.
All three judges went for Billam-Smith by overwhelming scores - 120-109 and 119-109 (twice). The referee was Hakan Sindemark, from Sweden.
Donte Dixon took a big step up in his sixth professional fight as he was too sharp and powerful for Jordan McCorry in an eight-round lightweight fight.
Dixon really looks the part – slick, fast, with a serious dig in either hand. McCorry was a tough man to dissuade. He kept coming forward, even when looking badly hurt and made Dixon work for everything.
Oddly, Dixon did not seem to be that difficult to hit. But whatever McCorry landed – and he landed some huge Hail Mary shots at times – Dixon just seemed to shrug it off.
He seemed set for an early night in the second and third rounds, as he pulled McCorry onto punches and was happy to trade. But every time, Dixon seemed to be on the verge of overwhelming McCorry, the Scotsman would come back.
Dixon finally got to McCorry again in the sixth round, dropping him with a big right hook to the body. McCorry tried to blast his way out of trouble, but Dixon was landing hard shots and when McCorry got close, he grabbed hold and wouldn’t let go, until referee Howard Foster deducted a point. But McCorry dug deep and saw out the round.
He threw everything into the last, but Dixon finished well and was well worth the verdict.
Referee Howard Foster scored it 77-73 to Dixon.
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.