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Lawrence Okolie to face Chris Billam-Smith, on Sky Sports, May 27

WBO cruiserweight titlist Lawrence Okolie (right) vs. David Light. Photo credit: Lawrence Lustig/Boxxer
Fighters Network

Earlier today, Boxxer announced that big-punching Lawrence Okolie will put his WBO cruiserweight title on the line for the fourth time when he meets compatriot Chris Billam-Smith, at Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth, England, on Sky Sports, on Saturday, May 27.

Okolie was perviously promoted by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing but a dispute resulted in 13 months of inactivity before breaking away and signing with Boxxer. Now he will return just two months after making his return to Sky Sports, beating David Light (UD 12) on March 25.

In doing so, he’ll face former gymmate Billam-Smith. The two both worked under the guidance of Shane McGuigan before Okolie left to work with Sugar Hill Steward.

However Okolie will go into the lions’ den when he faces popular local figure Billam-Smith, who will be fighting in his hometown for his third consecutive fight and will be cheered by a raucous crowd at the outdoor soccer stadium.

Okolie (19-0, 14 knockouts), The Ring’s No. 1 rated cruiserweight, was a 2016 UK Olympic representative, then turned professional in early 2017. “The Sauce” quickly claimed the Commonwealth, British and European championships with wins over Luke Watkins (TKO 3), Matty Askin (UD 12) and Yves Ngabu (TKO 7) respectively.

The 30-year-old power-puncher stepped up to world class, successfully capturing the vacant WBO title by stopping seasoned former titlist Krzysztof Glowacki (KO 6). He has since made three defenses, blowing away unbeaten mandatory Dilan Prasovic (KO 3) but labored in an ugly fight against Michal Cieslak (UD 12) and snapped his 13-month hiatus to beat mandatory challenger David Light (UD 12).

Billam-Smith (17-1, 12 KOs), The Ring’s No. 1-rated cruiserweight, won his first nine fights before tasting defeat for the only time, narrowly losing to Richard Riakporhe (SD 10).

The Englishman rebounded strongly, collecting the Commonwealth title before claiming the British and European titles by beating Tommy McCarthy (SD 12). Due to the closeness of the first fight, they met in a rematch and Billam-Smith left no doubt, stopping McCarthy in eight rounds. The 32-year-old followed that with a summer win over Isaac Chamberlain (UD 12) in front of his home fans. Billam-Smith vacated the EBU title rather than go over old ground against Dylan Bregeon, over whom he won a lopsided decision last winter. Earlier this year he scored an eye-catching knockout over Armend Xhoxhaj (KO 5).

It will be a big weekend of boxing on British and Irish shores. It was previously announced that Luis Alberto Lopez will defend his IBF featherweight title against Michael Conlan in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Mauricio Lara and Leigh Wood will also meet in a direct rematch for Lara’s WBA 126-pound title in Manchester, England.



Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright.