Bournemouth, May 29


hris Billam-Smith defeated Lawrence Okolie via majority decision infront of 15,000 fans at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday. Smith snatched the WBO cruiserweight title by defeating Okolie and handing him his first loss.

The former teammates who have shared hundreds of rounds in sparring went on their separate paths after Smith left and relocated to join new coach SugarHill Steward.

Smith steadily rose to title contention picking up British, Commonwealth and European cruiserweight titles in the process. Okolie has held these titles in the past. This put both the former friends on a collision course.

As per Sky Sports, Okolie returned to action recently in March in Manchester defeating David Light via unanimous decision. Okolie announced that he will fight Smith two months later in May.

The fans erupted in cheers at the Vitality Stadium when hometown hero Smith walked in to fight. Both the fighter started picking up the pace since the beginning as they really didn't need the feeling out process.

Although the champion picked up the pace in the beginning, the fourth-round knockdown by Smith led Okolie to clinch and retreat. Okolie's frequent clinging led to a point deduction by referee Marcus McDonnell in the seventh round.

Okolie tried to rush forward and push the fight in his favour in front of the judges. However, Smith caught him on the end of a left hook and scored the third knockdown in the 11th round. Smith won by majority decision as two judges scored in his favour while one scored it a draw.

This loss was Okolie's first in his professional boxing carrier. Reacting to his first loss Okolie said as per Sky Sports, "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 further added as per Sky Sports.

On the other hand, Smith lauded the former champion, "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." he said as per Sky Sports.

Smith dedicated this victory to his mother, "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."

WBO cruiserweight world title: Chris Billam-Smith defeats Lawrence Okolie

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