Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium will expand its capacity for the Lawrence Okolie vs Chris Billam-Smith world title fight on May 27, live on Sky Sports, after the local authorities granted a licence for 15,000 seats.
It means the WBO cruiserweight clash will be held before the largest non-football audience in the stadium’s history.
The ground usually hosts 11,300 seated fans for AFC Bournemouth’s Premier League football matches but BOXXER has received licensing permission from Bournemouth authorities to expand the seating provision for hometown favourite Billam-Smith’s title tilt, making it the biggest boxing event ever to take place in the south coast region.
“Wow! Thank you to everyone who has bought a ticket to come and support myself and the show,” Billam-Smith declared.
“Thank you to BCP Council, AFC Bournemouth and BOXXER for staging such an immense event for the town. I have never been so excited.”
In addition to allowing thousands more people to experience this landmark event in person, the expanded seating allocation will also create extra funding, with local charities set to receive a portion of the profits from this event.
Ben Shalom, BOXXER founder and CEO, said: “Bournemouth has turned out to be a sleeping giant of the British boxing scene. Our first 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 27.
“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.
“We honestly couldn’t have asked for a better partner as we prepare to stage the biggest non-football sports event in Bournemouth history.”
Bournemouth-based entrepreneur and philanthropist Joseph Ashford-Ellis is BOXXER’s local partner in the region.
Ashford-Ellis has committed to donating 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.
“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,” he said.
“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.”