Chris Billam-Smith Floors Lawrence Okolie Three Times To Win The WBO Cruiserweight Title

Chris Billam-Smith shocked Lawrence Okolie with three knockdowns to win the WBO cruiserweight title via a majority decision.

Okolie started at a very fast pace as he sought to pressure Billam-Smith from the off. Okolie attempted to bully and push Billam-Smith on the ropes while connecting with short snappy right hands.

The pressure continued with left hooks to the body and head as the pace was ferocious. A clip to the top of the head toppled Billam-Smith, as Okolie dominated the first three rounds.

Thereafter, Billam-Smith responded with a left hook that shook Okolie. The latter resorted to clinching as the momentum shifted.

Okolie’s desperation to recover resulted in a point deduction in the fifth round as the tide began to turn.

The same theme continued with Okolie continuing to hold on, as the referee (Marcus McDonnell) took off another point in the seventh round. Okolie began to get desperate, knowing that he was behind on the cards.

As he began to swing, a left connected with Okolie that saw him stumble to the floor, as a knockdown was declared.

Okolie, knowing that he was behind on the scorecards, was caught with a left hook in the eleventh as he hit the canvas.

Billam-Smith, however, had to withstand a barrage from Okolie as the former held on to win. Despite the margin of victory being huge, the scorecards were not fully indicative of that.

The judges’ scorecards were as follows: 112-112, 115-108 and 116-107.

Reaction

“I was in there, he was doing a lot of good stuff and got a good knockdown which changed the momentum.

“I love being the winner and the champion, I have to take my hat off to him, he did very good work. We’re going to run it back.

“I trained really hard because I know what Chris is made of. Today is his night, I might be down but I’m definitely not out. This was Chris at his very best. I can adapt to a loss, I’ll be back again,” Okolie

“I have no idea what’s just happened. My whole life has gone so quick and come to this moment, it’s just perfect. There’s nothing more.

“Against a great champion and a close friend in Lawrence, who has never looked close to getting beaten, he’s given me a very, very hard 12 rounds. I believe I did enough to win it, I believe the scorecards show that.

“I was sick in bed all week, I didn’t eat from Tuesday to Thursday, I managed to put on a brave face, I just want to dedicate this to my mum who has breast cancer at the minute. Mum, this is for you, I love you so much,” Billam Smith

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