Lawrence Okolie sends chilling warning to Chris Billam-Smith ahead of title showdown
Lawrence Okolie has sent a warning to former sparring-partner-turned-opponent Chris Billam-Smith that familiarity goes both ways. Billam-Smith used to be one of Okolie's key sparring partners when they trained together at Shane McGuigan's gym. But Okolie left McGuigan to join new coach SugarHill Steward and will now go toe-to-toe with Billam-Smith as he defends his WBO cruiserweight title on May 27 at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth. Billam-Smith is convinced that many round of sparring, and having McGuigan in his corner, will be just what he needs to Okolie. However, Okolie points out he knows them both just as well too. "I know that they're going to come. Their whole game plan is going to be around getting on my chest and screaming for points, all this stuff," Okolie told Sky Sports. "So I'm very much aware of the psyche that they're into, which is: 'We can't beat Lawrence in a fight. We can't. We can try and get a lucky punch but maybe we can make it a maul and get the crowd behind and throw him off'. "But I've never been that way inclined. I'm very focused, razor sharp, so I'm looking forward to showing it."
The Londoner is threatening "long range, domination" to get the better of Billam-Smith. "That's the type of energy I'm bringing to this fight," he said. "And I know that I can break him so I'm going to aim to break him on the day. That's it."
Okolie also feels that training to beat him and converting that into a result is another matter.
"Guess what, it's not going to happen! That's what I'm trying to say. I'm these guys' pinnacle and these guys are just guys to me," he said. "These guys trained for years to deal with X, Y, Z… Good luck. Good, good luck. "That's how I look at it. You guys can train all you want and say I'm going to do this and do that. The bottom line is, what everyone always forgets is, that I'm also training and I'm also a human man who's going to be throwing punches. "I'm very realistic."
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