By Charles Brun: Promoter Eddie Hearn took the occasion of WBO cruiserweight champion Lawrence Okolie’s twelve round majority decision loss last Saturday to Chris Billiam-Smith to fan the flames, saying that his former fighter has been “poorly advised.”
Hearn didn’t add specifics as to how Okolie (19-1, 14 KOs) has been “poorly advised,” but it would seem that he didn’t think it was a good idea for him to fight the tough Billiam-Smith (18-1, 13 KOs) last Saturday.
In other words, if Hearn were still promoting Okolie, that challenge wouldn’t have been made.
The weak match-making that was done while Okolie was with Hearn had resulted in the 6’5″ fighter becoming the forgotten man, a guy rarely talked about until last Saturday night when he courageously defended against one of the best fighters in the cruiserweight division, Billiam Smith.
Okolie was knocked three times by Billiam-Smith and penalized twice for holding in their fight at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth last Saturday night. The scores were 112-112, 116-107, and 115-108.
Okolie, 30, recently left Hearn’s Mattchroom Boxing, signed with Boxxer, and now fights with Sky Sports.
“He’s been poorly advised,” said Hearn to Boxing Social about Okolie.
“He believed he could beat Billam-Smith on away soil. He wanted the big unification fights, he’s had two fights that haven’t been one of them, and he’s got beat.”
“You can get beat any time, but he’s definitely been poorly advised. But that’s irrelevant when you’re talking about the fights, I wish him all the best.”
“To get to a world title and have the option to win it back, I can only be blessed,” said Okolie to Secondsout. “I think they did a really good job. It was great work.
“It’s a better sweet feeling. Obviously, I enjoyed winning, being undefeated. It’ll be sweeter to get the rematch. Happier for Chris. Obviously, it was at my expense, but to see someone that I’ve been so close with to go win a world title. I’ve got to take my hat off to Boxxer as well, Ben Shalmon and the whole team they’ve got here. They put on an amazing event today. I’m happy to be a part of that.
“Chris did a fantastic job. As I said, I got to take my hat off to them. I thought I was going to go in there and get a knockout. He had a different plan and got a win.
“For me, if I did more work or cleaner work, I could have got the stoppage, but I didn’t. The bottom line is, it got to round ten, and I knew what the points were, and in three rounds, I didn’t get the stoppage. So how can I be angry at anyone else but myself?
“When it got to round four with the knockdown, it makes you more tense. ‘Alright, you’re in a real fight here. It was a good experience. I weathered the storm we’ll and kind of grinded through. I showed a different side of my character.
“For me, you take it on the chin, come back and see what’s next,” said Okolie.