Lawrence Okolie (19-0) is seeking to make a fourth successful defence of his WBO cruiserweight title as he travels to Chris Billam-Smith’s (17-1) backyard for what will be his highest profile defence to date.
This will be the first time that Okolie has defended his belt against a fellow Brit, but he did defeat the likes of Isaac Chamberlain, Luke Watkins and Matty Askin on his way to his British title victory in 2018.
This year, ‘The Sauce’ has made a significant change behind the scenes, ditching long-time trainer Shane McGuigan and opting to instead appoint SugarHill Steward, coach of Tyson Fury, as his cornerman. A point to note is that McGuigan still guides Billam-Smith, so the pair have shared plenty of rounds in the gym.
Okolie’s first outing under Steward’s guidance didn’t set the world alight – a comfortable victory over New Zealand’s David Light just two months ago.
Many expected the 30-year-old to adopt an aggressive approach and following in the footsteps of Fury’s transition to the ‘Kronk’ style of fighting, yet instead viewers saw Okolie appear content to cruise to a unanimous decision victory.
Fans will be hoping that Billam-Smith can prove to be more of a test for the champion, in what is a dream stadium fight for ‘The Gentleman’. Billam-Smith has claimed both the British and European cruiserweight titles in the last two years, twice defeating Tommy McCarthy and defending the European strap against common opponent, Chamberlain, last year.
The one blemish on the résumé of the Bournemouth local is his controversial split-decision loss to Richard Riakporhe, who makes up the trifecta of Britain’s world level cruiserweights.
The atmosphere is sure to be electric in what is a long-awaited major boxing event at the Vitality Stadium, that both Billam-Smith and the local community have been beckoning for.
How Can I Watch Okolie vs Billam-Smith?
The event will be available to watch live on Sky Sports Action and Sky Showcase.
Where Is Okolie vs Billam-Smith?
The fight will take place at the Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth, in the hometown of Billam-Smith and the stadium of his beloved AFC Bournemouth.
When does Okolie vs Billam-Smith Start?
The card gets underway at 7pm (BST), with the ring walks for the main event scheduled to take place around 10pm (BST).
Okolie vs Billam-Smith Undercard
- Sam Eggington (33-8) vs Joe Pigford (20-0) – Super-Welterweight
- Lee Cutler (12-1) vs Stanley Stannard (10-0) – Super-Welterweight
- Michael McKinson (24-1) vs Lebin Morales (19-6-1) – Welterweight
- Tommy Welch (10-0) vs Amine Boucetta (7-6) – Heavyweight
- Mace Ruegg (8-0) vs Dean Dodge (9-3-1) – Super-Featherweight
- Karriss Artingstall (3-0) vs Jade Taylor (5-0) – Featherweight
- Lewis Edmondson (6-0) vs Petar Nosic (8-1) – Light-Heavyweight
- Alireza Ghadiri (7-0) vs Jonatas Gomes de Oliveira (4-3) – Featherweight