Lawrence Okolie – Chris Billam-Smith Tonight: Okolie Says He’ll “Think About Going To Heavyweight” If He Gets Quick Win
Lawrence Okolie has a job to do tonight, this against a confident and determined Chris Billam-Smith. But the reigning and defending WBO cruiserweight champion is thinking big. As in heavyweight division big. Okolie, 19-0(14) and the WBO 200-pound champ since March of 2021, told sky Sports that if he does a quick and emphatic job on Billam-Smith tonight, in what will be his third title defence, he will “probably start thinking about going up to heavyweight.”
And the 30-year-old who stands an impressive 6’5” and has a reach of 82 inches, says he would love a fight with Oleksandr Usyk. Usyk, who currently holds the WBA/IBF/WBO heavyweight titles, is, of course a former undisputed champ at cruiserweight. Okolie fancies himself as being able to join Evander Holyfield, David Haye, and Usyk, as the only fighters able to rule at both cruiser and heavyweight.
“If I stop Chris quickly and in good fashion, I probably will start thinking about going up to heavyweight,” Okolie said ahead of tonight’s fight with the 17-1(12) Billam-Smith. “At this point, I’ve had how many defences, very easy, lemon squeezy type of stuff. I’m running out of the need to keep coming down in weight. I might as well try something different and put on some serious size and enjoy it.
“I want to see. I want to see how he [Usyk] deals with my awkwardness, also my athleticism as well; I’d really like to see. He’s a cruiserweight who’s moved up so he’s a bit different now, a bit slower and a bit stronger. So it’ll be interesting to see.”
Okolie has shown great skill and talent in some of his fights, yet he has been labeled boring and dull by the critics in some of his other fights. How good is Okolie? We just don’t know, and we certainly don’t know if “The Sauce” is good enough to join that exclusive club, with only Holyfield, Haye, and Usyk currently allowed in.
A stoppage win over Billam-Smith would be a good statement, seeing how the 32-year-old has never been stopped. While a quick KO by Okolie would be even more so.
It can be dangerous when a fighter starts looking too far ahead when he has an important assignment to deal with first. Let’s hope, for his sake, Okolie has given/is giving Billam-Smith the full respect he deserves.