Lawrence Okolie To Pursue Rematch Against Chris Billam-Smith
It was a night of upsets at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth, England as Chris Billam-Smith (18-, 12 KOs) scored a surprising majority decision victory over Lawrence “The Sauce” Okolie (19-1, 14 KOs) to capture the WBO cruiserweight title. Okolie is now calling for a rematch. Immediately after suffering the first loss of his professional career, the now-former world champion said the following:
“I’m going to go back to the drawing board . . . We will go again . . . I might be down, but I’m definitely not out.”
CAN OKOLIE REBOUND?
The former champion praised Billam-Smith and seemed to take what happened to him all in stride.
“At the end of the day, this is Chris at his very best. I’m the type of person who can adapt to a loss. It’s no big deal, I’ll be back again.”
It’s always a wait-and-see how to a fighter will respond after suffering their first defeat. Some go back into the lab, reassess what went wrong and come back more determined and a better fighter. Others are not the same and never fully recover. Often, it’s a byproduct of their losing confidence and aura of invincibility.
This was Okolie’s second fight with trainer SugarHill Steward after splitting up with former long-time trainer Ben Davison. There’s often a period of adjustment when a fighter takes on a new lead trainer. That dynamic could have played a role in Okolie’s loss to Billam-Smith. Others would say Okolie may have been distracted by talks of *a possible showdown with rival Richard Riakporhe.
However, some observers would argue that The Sauce got exposed. They would claim that when faced with a physically strong pressure fighter who can punch like Billam-Smith, Okolie folds. Those are the questions that Okolie must ask about himself if he’s serious about a rematch with Billam-Smith.