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Lawrence Okolie vs. Chris Billam-Smith Is Set For May 27

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Lawrence Okolie vs. Chris Billam-Smith Is Set For May 27

Photo Credit: BOXXER / Lawrence Lustig

Lawrence Okolie vs. Chris Billam-Smith Is Set For May 27

WBO cruiserweight champion Lawrence Okolie (19-0) wastes no time after earning a unanimous decision in March over David Light. BOXXER has scheduled the cruiserweight champion for a fight on May 27 against Chris Billiam-Smith (17-1), which was formally announced at a press conference in London earlier today. Although both men have sparred with each other, they have put that aside and understand that this fight is strictly business between them, so don’t expect any prefight theatrics between the two cruiserweights.


Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/ BOXXER

“I had a year out for various reasons and I came over to Boxxer to be active. I enjoy fighting against the best people. I’m not one of those fighters that talks about it, I am one of those fighters who goes out and makes it happen. It’s a quick turnaround from what people are used to but I’ve got no injuries or damage from my last fight so why not get straight back into it and keep active.” 
“I know what this fight means to me and what it means to Chris and I know what I am going to have to put my body through over the next few weeks. My performance against David Light was me coming back after a year off.” 


“Against Chris … we’ve had a lot of spars, I know what this fight is going to look like. He always has action-packed fights with a lot of punches exchanged. And actually as much as I like Chris I am looking forward to being in that type of fight.”
On wanting a stoppage win despite their friendship 
“I guess that’s always the aim isn’t it? Chris is someone who I respect as a person, I know him well, I love how he is with his family and I love him as a person. It’s unfortunate because I like Chris but ultimately he’s Commonwealth champion, former European champion, he’s highly-ranked and those are the type of fights I want to be in.” 
On gelling with new coach SugarHill Steward
“Yeah, of course. Soon as you start a new job or new area there’s going to be a learning curve. There’s going to be on lessons learned. We had 12 rounds last week so we’ve got a lot to work with and we both know what we need to work on in the gym. So I’m really excited for these next few weeks.” 


Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/ BOXXER

“Obviously when you’re in the same gym, you never expected [a fight] to happen and you never expect people to leave either but obviously he’s left [McGuigan’s Gym] now and the fight can happen. I like Lawrence,. he’s a funny guy, but he’s got something I want and, as always, it’s just business.”
I think we’ve sparred probably 300 rounds against each other. They were learning curves for both of us and we learned a lot as we built ourselves to world-level fighters , and that’s what makes this such an exciting fight. I think I’ve shown in my career that I’ve always tried to fight every champion there is. Lawrence is one of them and now we’re here.”
On the fight being in Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium, home to Bournemouth AFC
“It’s going to be incredible. So many memories there as a 12 year old, as a season ticket holder for years. I wanted to play for Bournemouth but my feet weren’t quite as good as my hands so I’ve found another way to make my dreams come true and get on the pitch.”


Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/ BOXXER

“This one is going to be something special, a world title. We brought the first televised boxing event to Bournemouth last summer and now we’re ready to do a world title there. That’s credit to Chris and everyone involved.”
“This division right now… you’ve got Richard Riakporhe ready for his world title shot, you’ve got Chris, you’ve got Lawrence active. All these fighters are in their prime now and there’s no excuses. They all want the same thing.” 
“This division is stacked. We’ve got Mikael Lawal against Isaac Chamberlain in an unbelievable British title fight as well. It’s a special division and hopefully it can be an example to the rest of boxing that the best should fight the best in their prime at the right time.”

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Born and raised in the Bronx, New York City, Abe grew up in a family who were and still are die-hard boxing fans. He started contributing boxing articles in 2017 while being an active duty U.S. Marine. Abe is the Managing Editor for Big Fight Weekend and also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA).

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