mai 29, 2023

Lawrence Okolie tells Chris Billam-Smith ahead of stadium showdown: ‘Dreams don’t always come true’ | Boxing News

3 min read

“Dreams,” Lawrence Okolie ominously tells Chris Billam-Smith, “don’t always come true.”

Okolie is coming to Bournemouth to win. He doesn’t care that Billam-Smith is an old friend and former gym-mate.

He doesn’t care that the hopes of Saturday’s raucous local crowd will be invested in Billam-Smith.

He doesn’t care that all Billam-Smith wants is to win a world title with 15,000 supporters roaring him on the Vitality Stadium in his home town, live on Sky Sports.

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Lawrence Okolie refused to stare into the eyes of Chris Billam-Smith for too long at the fight week press-conference

He wants the win and he needs the WBO cruiserweight title belt to stay wrapped round his waist after Saturday night’s fight.

« I have my own dreams and aspirations, » Okolie told Sky Sports, « and Chris is actually in my way. »

His attitude to Billam-Smith will be no different to any other opponent. « I’d have a fight with my own brother if necessary, » Okolie said. « I sparred my brother and I tell you what I didn’t go easy.

« I don’t really look at it any differently because it’s someone that I know or have known. I still have to block punches, slip punches and come back with my own.

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Chris Billam-Smith’s trainer Shane McGuigan says a win over Lawrence Okolie would be his best ever win as a coach

« When the bell goes there’s no such thing as I know him and this, that and the other. It’s just a fight. »

Okolie is a formidable man to face in the ring. In less than 20 professional contests, he has won a world title and defended it three times.

« Not to mention British, Commonwealth, European [titles]. And not to mention I only had 20 something amateur fights, » he said.

« So I’ve had under 50 fights and I’ve become a European [amateur] champion and Olympian, British, Commonwealth, European and world champion.

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Boxxer CEO Ben Shalom says Lawrence Okolie’s new, more aggressive style could work in the favour of opponent Chris Billam-Smith

« Against guys, » he added, « who have had a whole wealth of experience and at all times my character has shown through, so this is another opportunity for my character to show through.

« For me it’s just another one to tick off the checklist, boxing a fighter in their home town and I’m obviously the champion but the away fighter in theory.

« I’m looking forward to what’s to come. »

Billam-Smith has warned that Okolie will be shocked by his power. But the champion is adamant that « talk is cheap but I’m the harder puncher, not matter how you want to look at it, I punch harder than him ».

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Ahead of this weekend’s WBO cruiserweight clash between Lawrence Okolie and Chris Billam-Smith, check out some of the best British world title fights to have taken place on Sky Sports

He is unconvinced that Billam-Smith will be tough enough to take his shots.

« No. I don’t think anyone is really, » Okolie said. « These guys have all tried but either they get hurt or disheartened or they get tired. I think all three are going to happen to Chris in this fight.

« I think all three are going to happen.

« If he comes how I expect him to come, which is to have a fight then yeah, I expect to knock him out. Because the more that you’re looking for it the more that opportunities arise for someone else. Someone like me.

« But we’ll see. »

Don’t miss Lawrence Okolie vs Chris Billam-Smith live on Sky Sports Action and Sky Showcase from 7pm on Saturday night.

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