Lawrence Okolie has vowed to ruin Chris Billam-Smith’s fairy tale by beating him in a world title fight in front of his home fans at Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium next month.
Okolie, the WBO cruiserweight champion, is unbeaten in 19 professional fights, winning 14 by knockout, with Billam-Smith’s trainer Shane McGuigan even labeling him “the best cruiserweight on the planet right now”.
A former training partner of Billam-Smith’s from McGuigan’s gym, Okolie is now working under new trainer SugarHill Steward and has promised to “stamp out” Billam-Smith’s dream homecoming.
“Whatever you want to say about it, I haven’t come close to losing a fight ever,” Okolie told Sky Sports.
“This one, however, is a very different energy. I know what Chris is like.
“I know how Chris trains. He is a hard trainer, he is dedicated and, on the day, he is going to come and put it all on the line.
“It’s a childhood dream of his and I’m not into fairy tales for other people. I’m into my own fairy tale, to stamp out his dream.
“Respectfully, I am here to ruin the party.”
Okolie: I’ve got a point to prove in this fight
Okolie is expecting a hostile reception from the the partisan home crowd for the Bournemouth bout, but insists he will “enjoy every moment”.
“Chris is going to walk out first and the crowd is going to cheer and all be wearing black and red,” Okolie said. “They are going to play the music of the Bournemouth club. The atmosphere is going to be amazing.
“I’m going to walk out next, likely to boos: ‘We hope Chris knocks you out, you suck, whatever it is.’
“I am going to play my ring music, I’m going to enjoy every moment because in the good and the bad you have to enjoy every step of this journey. It’s a short career.
“Then the bell is going to go and I’m going to show everyone. I’ve got a point to prove in this fight.”
Billam-Smith has predicted a knockout win over Okolie for when the pair meet next month, but again the world champion is taking it all in his stride.
“He’s trying to be realistic with himself,” Okolie said.
“He’s not going to beat me on a 12-round decision because I am very athletic, I’m very fit and I’m not going to lose rounds when you watch my fights.
“So for him to win he’s going to have to really get the shots off to try and get the KO.
“He’s not going to predict the 12-round decision so I expect that.”