Lawrence Okolie vs Chris Billam Smith Preview May 27th, 2023
Unbeaten WBO Cruiserweight Champion Lawrence Okolie of London, takes on fellow Englishman Chris Billam-Smith of Bournemouth in Billam-Smith’s hometown this Saturday, May 27th. The 12-rounder can be seen live in the UK on Sky Sports Action. Okolie beat David Light by unanimous decision in his last outing in March while Billam-Smith stopped Armend Xhoxhajund in the fifth round in December in his last contest. Okolie stopped Krzysztof Glowacki in the sixth round in March, 2021 to win the vacant title, stopped Dilan Prasovic in the third round in his first defence followed by unanimous decisions over Michal Cieslak and Light.
Okolie vs Billam-Smith Betting Odds
- Chris Billam-Smith +300
- Lawrence Okolie -400
Okolie is 30 years old and big and lanky at 6-feet-5-inches with a perfect record of 19-0 with 14 Ko’s and is listed as having an 82.5-inch reach. He’s boxed 96 rounds since making his pro debut in 2017 and so far has displayed very impressive power with a current knockout ratio of 73.7 per cent but has gone the distance in his last two fights. He won the vacant WBA Continental Cruiserweight Title in 2018 via a 10-round unanimous decision over Isaac Chamberlain.
Okolie then added the Commonwealth Crown a few months later by stopping Luke Watkins in the third round. He’s also beaten Matty Askin and Wadi Camacho to add the British Title and hoisted the European Cruiserweight Belt in October, 2019 with a seventh-round TKO of Yves Ngabu. He stepped up in class earlier in 2020 when he met Glowacki and passed the test with flying colours.
Before turning pro, Okolie enjoyed a fine amateur career and won the 2016 AIBA European Olympic Qualification Event. He boxed in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where he beat Igor Jakubowski of Poland and lost to Erislandy Savon of Cuba. Okolie also boxed in the World Series of Boxing in 2016 for Britain and was beaten by Erislandy Savon again.
The 32-year-old Billam-Smith climbs through the ropes with an impressive mark of 17-1 with 12 Ko’s and has 108 rounds of experience under his belt since turning pro in 2017. Before that he enjoyed a fine amateur career with a reported 32-11 record and fought in several English National Championships, making it to the Final in 2013 and 2016. He measures 6-feet-3-inches tall with an unlisted reach, so gives up 2.5-inches in height to the champion.
Since turning pro, Billam-Smith stopped Craig Glover in the fifth round in 2019 for the vacant Commonwealth Cruiserweight Crown and then edged Tommy McCarthy by 12-round split decision to add the European and vacant British Titles in July, 2021. He stopped McCarthy in the the eighth round in April, 2022 in their rematch and also has wins over Isaac Chamberlain, Dylan Bregon, Nathan Thorley and Robin Dupre.
The lone defeat on Billam-Smith’s record came at the hands of Richard Riakporhe by 10-round split decision in a shot at the WBA Inter-Continental Cruiserweight title in July, 2019. as far as power goes, he has pretty good pop in his punches with a current knockout ratio of 66.7 per cent but has gone the distance in four of his last six fights. Billam-Smith also has a pretty solid chin.
This is an interesting matchup as Billam-Smith is a tough customer with solid power and a pretty good chin and also has decent size. Still, Okolie is the size of a heavyweight, so Billam-Smith will need to work his way inside to cause some damage. Okolie likes to keep his foes at bay with a fine jab and then follow up with his power shots but he can sometimes look mediocre if everything is going his way. Okolie is expected to win this fight but Billam-Smith has a chance if he pushes him and tries to turn it into a bit of a brawl rather than a boxing match. Either way, I’m going with Okolie here in a fairly entertaining tilt.
Billam-Smith needs to make Okolie work hard for his win here.
Play: Okolie -400 @ BetOnline.ag
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