Lawrence Okolie has a rematch clause for Saturday’s WBO cruiserweight title defence, however Chris Billam-Smith is not satisfied his opponent will wish to use it after their struggle on the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth.
Billam-Smith believes his personal under-appreciated punch energy will probably be “the largest shock” to Okolie.
A hometown hero in Bournemouth, Billam-Smith has been working with a brand new power and conditioning coach for the reason that finish of final yr – in addition to prime coach Shane McGuigan, who can also be Okolie’s former coach.
He’s promising to ship one thing Okolie hasn’t skilled earlier than after they struggle, stay on Sky Sports activities this Saturday.
Billam-Smith maintains the blistering knockout end he secured in his final struggle must be a warning signal for Okolie.
“Lawrence is clearly a really large one-punch puncher, however for those who take a look at my final struggle it reveals that I can punch,” Billam-Smith advised Sky Sports activities.
“He would possibly assume that is simply me saying it. However he is additionally not used to getting hit so it is virtually like a double impact. When you get hit and you know the way to take care of that, panic does not set in. I feel for him panic will set in on Saturday night time.
“Any struggle in opposition to Lawrence is harmful as a result of he can punch and he is acquired lengthy levers so you need to take educated dangers and you have to actually work arduous to get the photographs off it is advisable do. That is what we have been doing the entire time.”
He added: “I do not count on him to face there and commerce with me. He is aware of he cannot try this. I think about he will be attempting to maintain it lengthy and transfer his ft.
“The arduous factor with Lawrence is getting in place. So we all know what we have got to do.”
They sparred lots of of rounds collectively after they have been gym-mates, however Billam-Smith is adamant that Okolie cannot take an excessive amount of from that previous expertise.
“It’ll be very totally different than 16 or 18 ounce gloves to 10 ounce [competition] gloves,” he stated.
“He by no means buzzed me with 18 ounce gloves on however you’ve got acquired a head guard and 18 ounce gloves on. It isn’t like [I can think] ‘he by no means buzzed me so I can simply go in there and take his photographs’.
“I’ve acquired to remain concentrated. It isn’t simply getting into there, simply going hell for leather-based. That is not how this recreation works on the prime degree. It is acquired to be focus the entire time and focus. That is how the job will get performed.”
Their previous means they do have historical past. However any friendship between them is on maintain at the very least till after the struggle.
There have already been jibes from Okolie saying that Billam-Smith was at all times McGuigan’s “favorite” within the health club and he additionally identified that he by no means acquired an invite to Billam-Smith’s wedding ceremony.
“There was lots of people on the listing earlier than Lawrence,” Billam-Smith stated bluntly of ‘wedding-gate,’ including, “I used to be within the health club longest. I feel that is why I used to be Shane’s favorite.”
That uncommon pre-fight rigidity provides to the event for Billam-Smith.
“It is acquired all of the elements to be a extremely particular night time. Every part from it being two Brits for a world title, for me being within the stadium. But additionally being outdated gym-mates, outdated coach and so on. There’s an actual story to it for me and I simply thrive off of that and let that gas me,” he stated.
“It has been a extremely satisfying construct up, for myself anyway and I feel the followers have loved it as nicely. It’s extremely straightforward to get caught up in faux beef on this trade. The ‘beef’ you see between us is actual. Something I’ve stated is both a tongue in cheek remark or has acquired a base of fact in it. I am by no means simply slagging him off for the sake of it. Whereas that occurs rather a lot on this sport.
“I feel we’ll shake arms after the struggle. Hopefully he’ll be in an okay temper regardless that he is been beat.”
Profitable might imply Billam-Smith must struggle him once more. “He requested for a rematch clause. He is acquired a rematch clause. We’ll see if he needs it after Saturday night time,” he revealed.
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“He would possibly blame the burden, he would possibly wish to go as much as heavyweight. I feel he is a aggressive man. I feel he’ll need the rematch.”
This struggle although would be the defining second for Billam-Smith.
“It’ll be close to on inconceivable to prime this in my profession, profitable on Saturday night time,” he stated.
“I am leaving completely the whole lot within the ring.”