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Thread: Lawrence Okolie v Chris Billam-Smith - 27 May 2023

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    Default Lawrence Okolie v Chris Billam-Smith - 27 May 2023

    Okolie to fight Billam-Smith for world title on May 27 live on Sky.

    World champion Lawrence Okolie is to fight Chris Billam-Smith on May 27 at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth, live on Sky Sports.

    Okolie is the WBO cruiserweight champion and will step into enemy territory to put his world title on the line in former training partner Billam-Smith's home town.

    The pair trained together at Shane McGuigan's gym, and Okolie is now working under new trainer SugarHill Steward, making a fight with the highly-rated Billam-Smith possible.

    Billam-Smith had previously confirmed he would be fighting at the Vitality Stadium in late May and has now vowed to become a world champion on home turf.

    "Fighting someone I know very well for a world title is a very exciting opportunity, he said. "I'm elated to be fighting at the home of my beloved AFC Bournemouth in front of my phenomenal fans. On May 27 I will repay them by winning a world title"

    Okolie last defended his title when he dominated mandatory challenger David Light in Manchester last month. With little time to recover, he will have to go straight back into training camp, but it's a challenge the cruiserweight champion welcomed.

    "I'm pumped, I'm ready to go," he said. "I've just come off a successful defence where I won all 12 rounds against an unknown but tough competitor, a national champion in his homeland.

    "Now weeks later I am going in against a known tough boxer, a top 10 ranked boxer, former European champion and current Commonwealth champion Chris Billam-Smith.

    "Not many fighters make back to back defences in such a short space of time. Not many pick the hardest fights available to them, but that's what I'm about.

    "Chris, I love you, but I have to get the KO in this one."

    Billam-Smith has fast acquired a reputation for being one of the most exciting fighters in Britain. He has won British, Commonwealth and European cruiserweight titles. With an impassioned crowd in Bournemouth roaring him on, in 2022 he beat Isaac Chamberlain in a Fight of the Year contender and levelled Armend Xhoxhaj to record a spectacular knockout win.

    That set him up for a world title challenge and when Okolie, taking scarcely any time to recover from his last fight, came with the offer of a "dream night" in his hometown, Billam-Smith did not hesitate.

    "Let's do this," Billam-Smith declared as soon as he saw Okolie's callout.

    Okolie is a big cruiserweight, a heavy-handed puncher with long reach. In his last fight against Light he showed just how difficult he would be for any cruiserweight to beat.

    But Billam-Smith has demonstrated in his career how effective he can be when attacking opponents on the inside and, in trainer McGuigan, has in his corner arguably the man most qualified to devise a plan to defeat Okolie.

    The May 27 undercard will also see Chamberlain challenge unbeaten Mikael Lawal for the British cruiserweight title.

    https://www.msn.com/en-gb/sport/boxi...a2bba1e&ei=133
    Do not let success go to your head and do not let failure get to your heart.

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    Default Re: Lawrence Okolie v Chris Billam-Smith - 27 May 2023

    In the summer of 2012, it felt as if everyone in London was watching the Olympics. It was the same for us, on our lunch break in the McDonald’s staff room. I felt as if I was on the journey with those athletes – every punch that was thrown, every stride on the sprint. I loved watching Usain Bolt and the British boxers Anthony Joshua and Nicola Adams.

    I had been working at McDonald’s since I left sixth form, in the branch at Victoria station. Sometimes, I’d see people I’d gone to school with who were on their way to university, or starting their careers. I was taking a year out and I didn’t really have a plan for my life. It was starting to feel like I’d been left behind.

    That afternoon, with the TV on, there were three of us on our break and we were watching Anthony Joshua in the super-heavyweight final. It was a close fight, back and forth, but he battled on and got the victory. I thought: “I need a moment like this, I need this type of energy in my life.” Then I thought: “I’m going to get to the next Olympics.”


    If you’d been at my school and wondered which one of us might end up being an athlete, I wouldn’t be in the lineup – I’d be in the canteen. The others would be playing football at lunchtime, but I’d be waiting for seconds. By the time I was 19 and working at McDonald’s, I had joined a boxing gym and I’d started to drop weight, but I only went once or twice a week, in a failing attempt to keep fit. Nobody would have said I could have been an Olympian.

    That afternoon, I told the manager at work I was going to need to reduce my hours, and then I went home and told my mum my plan: that I was going to take boxing seriously. I asked her if she would help fund my life for a while. “Don’t worry,” I said. “I’m going to be a champion one day.” She was worried. “Isn’t boxing dangerous?” she said. “And if you’re going to be a champion, aren’t you meant to start when you’re much younger?” We had seen other people try to make it in football and not get there. I was nearly 20, unfit and saying I was going to be a champion. It sounded ridiculous, but she supported me.

    I looked at Joshua’s rise – he won the big amateur tournament in London, then he was English champion, British champion, won silver at the World Championships and gold at the Olympics. I could set targets like that. Accomplishing them was a different thing, but I could see the path.

    I started training every day. I had a coach, Robert England, who saw me hit the pads and told me I had something. Around the same time, I started my degree at the University of East London, so I’d use the weights in the gym there, and I was running every day, no matter the weather.

    I had been lazy before – if I had been asked to do 10 push-ups, I’d only try to do five – but now I had a focus. When I started to see the results of my hard work, my internal voice became encouraging: why do 10 push-ups when you could do 12? I started to realise the more I put in, the more I was getting out.

    My friends and family thought I was crazy, but they supported me and kept me accountable. If you have good people around you who know your goal, they push you towards it. When I wanted to go out and have a drink, or a second piece of cake, it was: “Mate, don’t you have the Olympics to go to?” It was still hard – I’d be tired mentally from uni and have to train. I’d say no to parties I wanted to say yes to. All I had was this dream, but no guarantee I’d get there.

    There were lots of times I thought it would never happen. I had started to win fights and, in 2014, I sparred with Joshua, who gave me lots of confidence. Then, in the spring of 2015, I fractured my hand. The Rio Olympics were the following year and I still hadn’t had an international fight – I wasn’t recognised by the England Boxing authority, let alone Team GB. I’d entered the English tournament, the ABA championships, but because my hand was injured I knew I wouldn’t make it to the end. My first fight was against a guy who’d got to the finals the year before. I won – and that was just enough to get on the radar.

    When my hand had healed a few months later, I went for an assessment with Team GB, and by the end of the year I was fighting internationally for the first time. Somehow, between then and the following spring, I managed to qualify for the 2016 Olympics. In just under four years, I’d achieved my dream.

    Going to Rio was amazing. I was with all these athletes I looked up to and I could say: “I’m an Olympian, too.” It also taught me a valuable lesson. When I was aiming for the Olympics, nothing could stop me, but I didn’t set the target of winning a medal with the same intent. When I was eliminated, I was proud of myself for getting there, but I also thought: set a target, but don’t let that be it. When I turned professional soon afterwards and started winning titles, I racked up a lot quickly, because my mindset was never “I’m just happy to be here”. I am happy and grateful, but I am also thinking: what’s next?

    In March, I retained my world title, but I don’t live my life as the world champion. I understand that one day someone will be better than me, or if I have to retire; someone else will be world champion. Boxing doesn’t define me, but that decision I made on that lunch break changed my life. Sometimes, I don’t recognise the person I used to be. I remember being scared, afraid to speak up or stand out. I accepted things I would never accept now and I was someone who cut corners, rather than pushed myself. Now, I look at the world very differently, and I definitely believe it’s possible to achieve a dream, however big.

    https://www.msn.com/en-gb/sport/boxi...863edac&ei=205
    Do not let success go to your head and do not let failure get to your heart.

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    Default Re: Lawrence Okolie v Chris Billam-Smith - 27 May 2023

    There are 3 big fights on 27th May!

    Alongside this fight which will be huge in Bournemouth, there is Lara v Woods and Lopez v Conlan. These promoters need to talk to one another and make sure they do not clash!
    Do not let success go to your head and do not let failure get to your heart.

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    Default Re: Lawrence Okolie v Chris Billam-Smith - 27 May 2023

    Chris Billam-Smith says he will be looking to hit Lawrence Okolie often as he tries to prise the WBO cruiserweight title from his former training partner in the "perfect fight" in Bournemouth.

    Billam-Smith will be competing in his home town when the Vitality Stadium hosts the all-English clash live on Sky Sports on Saturday May 27.

    The unbeaten Okolie used to train in Shane McGuigan's gym alongside Billam-Smith but is now working under SugarHill Steward.

    Billam-Smith told Sky Sports News: "It's the perfect fight. I have always wanted to win a world title at the Vitality and this is a perfect opportunity against someone I know well. I think we've done about 300 rounds.

    "I am excited. I think it is a great fight for the sport. It didn't take long to make once it got offered - it was probably signed within a week.

    "The dream for any fighter is to be world champion and to do it at the stage I've got, the opportunity I've got, is a dream come true. It's down to me to fulfil my dream. Everyone else has done their part."

    'I am expecting a good version of Lawrence'


    Billam-Smith was last in action in December 2022, recording a fifth-round knockout of Armend Xhoxhaj, but Okolie boxed as recently as March when he outpointed New Zealander David Light to retain his cruiserweight title in his first fight in over a year.

    Billam-Smith expects back-to-back training camps to aid Okolie but feels he can enjoy success if he is able to land frequent punches on his former stablemate.

    The 32-year-old said: "I can't give too much away but the task for anyone is landing on Lawrence. Once you get landing on him he's good at tying you up so you've just got to hit him. Hit him often.

    "No one has really done that. Maybe caught him with a little shot here and there. That's the game plan to hit him and hit him often.

    "He has fought more recently than I have but had time out before then. He has had back-to-back camps, no time out, which probably benefits him so I am expecting a good version of Lawrence. He has shaken the ring rust off and had the second camp to settle in."

    Asked whether the pair will still be friends after next weekend's fight, Billam-Smith said: "I can't see why not, from my point, yes. But it will be his first loss so it depends how he takes it!"

    https://www.msn.com/en-gb/sport/boxi...3c85edb&ei=251
    Do not let success go to your head and do not let failure get to your heart.

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    Default Re: Lawrence Okolie v Chris Billam-Smith - 27 May 2023

    It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

    Titofan:

    The fact is GGG has fought at 160 for his entire career. Post #87, 5th August 2022
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    Also Titofan:

    GGG weighed 163 for the Rolls fight. Post #91, 6th August 2022

    Hidden Content

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    Default Re: Lawrence Okolie v Chris Billam-Smith - 27 May 2023

    Eggington v Pigford on now.
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    Default Re: Lawrence Okolie v Chris Billam-Smith - 27 May 2023

    Eggington rocks his opponent in round 4, he could go for the stoppage.
    Do not let success go to your head and do not let failure get to your heart.

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    Default Re: Lawrence Okolie v Chris Billam-Smith - 27 May 2023

    Brutal stoppage in round 5 by Eggington.
    Do not let success go to your head and do not let failure get to your heart.

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    Default Re: Lawrence Okolie v Chris Billam-Smith - 27 May 2023

    Okolie starts very aggressive in the first round and hurts Smith with his right hand. He could get a stoppage if he keeps this up.

    1 nil Okolie
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    Default Re: Lawrence Okolie v Chris Billam-Smith - 27 May 2023

    first to lawrence
    It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

    Titofan:

    The fact is GGG has fought at 160 for his entire career. Post #87, 5th August 2022
    Hidden Content

    Also Titofan:

    GGG weighed 163 for the Rolls fight. Post #91, 6th August 2022

    Hidden Content

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    Default Re: Lawrence Okolie v Chris Billam-Smith - 27 May 2023

    Okolie dominates round 2, Smith looks out of his depth.
    Do not let success go to your head and do not let failure get to your heart.

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    Default Re: Lawrence Okolie v Chris Billam-Smith - 27 May 2023

    second to lawrence
    It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

    Titofan:

    The fact is GGG has fought at 160 for his entire career. Post #87, 5th August 2022
    Hidden Content

    Also Titofan:

    GGG weighed 163 for the Rolls fight. Post #91, 6th August 2022

    Hidden Content

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    Default Re: Lawrence Okolie v Chris Billam-Smith - 27 May 2023

    Okolie busting up Smith in round 3, the ref blaming Okolie for the scrappy round.

    3 nil
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    Default Re: Lawrence Okolie v Chris Billam-Smith - 27 May 2023

    third to lawrence
    It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

    Titofan:

    The fact is GGG has fought at 160 for his entire career. Post #87, 5th August 2022
    Hidden Content

    Also Titofan:

    GGG weighed 163 for the Rolls fight. Post #91, 6th August 2022

    Hidden Content

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    Default Re: Lawrence Okolie v Chris Billam-Smith - 27 May 2023

    lawrence down
    It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

    Titofan:

    The fact is GGG has fought at 160 for his entire career. Post #87, 5th August 2022
    Hidden Content

    Also Titofan:

    GGG weighed 163 for the Rolls fight. Post #91, 6th August 2022

    Hidden Content

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