Capacity Expanded For Okolie-Billam-Smith World Title Encounter

Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium will host the largest non-football audience in its history on Saturday, May 27th when 15,000 fans will pack the venue to witness hometown hero Chris Billam-Smith (17-1-0, 12 KOs) challenge former team mate Lawrence Okolie (19-0, 14 KOs) for the cruiserweight championship of the world. 

The ground usually hosts 11,300 seated fans for the Premiership football games of AFC Bournemouth, but BOXXER has received licensing permission from Bournemouth authorities to expand seating provision for Billam-Smith’s title tilt, the biggest boxing event ever to take place in the south coast region.

And it’s not only the fans who benefit - in addition to allowing thousands more people to experience this landmark event in person, the expanded seating allocation will also create extra funding for local charities set to receive a portion of the profits from this event.

Bournemouth-based entrepreneur and philanthropist Joseph Ashford Ellis - BOXXER’s local partner in the region - has been a driving force and key player in bringing BOXXER events to Bournemouth, hoping it will provide inspiration for local youngsters to channel their time and energy into sport “instead of just hanging around on the streets”.

A key partner in the May 27th event, Joseph has vowed to donate his proportion of profits from the event to two local charities an amateur boxing club and a charity which works with Bournemouth’s street-homeless population. (In 2022, determined to bring BOXXER to Bournemouth, he assumed massive financial risk to himself by personally underwriting the cost of every ticket for the first event.)

On May 27th he will once again be ringside as the evening’s event plays out, paying particular attention to the boxers from his management stable who are competing on the card, including Southampton’s Joe Pigford, Bournemouths very own Lee Cutler and the Portsmouth talent Mikey McKinson.

“Bournemouth is my home town. It's where all my children have been born and raised, I genuinely love the town, I love the people and I wanted the chance to do something for the community here. I strongly believe in sport as a pathway to a better life for young people and I hope that this event - and the two prior BOXXER events in Bournemouth - have shown what it’s possible to achieve when you are on the right path,” said Ashford-Ellis.

“This event is a landmark moment for Bournemouth but for me it’s about the chance to give something back. I’m excited to see the sold-out atmosphere in the Vitality Stadium on fight night but I’m also looking forward even more to the moment when I take my share of the event revenue and hand it over to these vital community projects. That’s going to be a very proud moment for me, another tick off my bucket list and I’m just delighted to be able to give something back.”

Ben Shalom, BOXXER Founder and CEO, “Bournemouth has turned out to be a sleeping giant of the British boxing scene. Our visit absolutely blew us away, the crowd was unbelievable and to this day it’s an event BOXXER staff still talk about. The atmospheres at both our Bournemouth events have been indescribable and I really cannot wait to see what level things go to when the main event fighters are walking out at the Vitality Stadium on May 27th. 

“We are unbelievably fortunate to have Joe Ashford-Ellis as our partner in Bournemouth. He was so passionate about bringing us here and he’s moved heaven and earth to make these events happen, motivated by his desire to do something for the young people here. That motivation gives him limitless energy and we honestly couldn’t have asked for a better partner as we prepare to stage the biggest non-football sports event in Bournemouth history.”