A REMATCH against Chris Billam-Smith is “the only way to go” for Lawrence Okolie, his trainer Sugar Hill says.
The two cruiserweights met last weekend at AFC Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium in front of 15,000 fans, largely in support of Billam-Smith. A rough and tough 12 rounds ended with the crowd favourite being awarded a majority decision.
A rematch clause was already in place for Okolie if he had lost and his cornerman told Boxing News they want the second fight.
“Yeah, that’s the only way to go. You don’t want to wait around and try to get a rematch. You want to get it right away. He obviously knows there were some things that he did [wrong] by the statements that he made, and he wants to correct those things. He wants to write his wrongs and he wants to be victorious.”
What played out between the two fighting friends was a messy contest full of incident, point deductions and Billam-Smith walking through everything Okolie had to offer. Is Hill confident that the result can be reversed in a rematch?
“I’m very confident of it,” he replied.
“I was confident in this fight. I’m going to be confident in every fight. That’ll be something that me and Lawrence talk about and want to figure out for him. Maybe if I said peekaboo or something he would have got himself back to the way he was doing in a training camp and not be so anxious. I don’t know. I’m a crazy thinker so sometimes you have to think outside the box to get things to work properly.”
Okolie himself told BN in his dressing room afterwards that the rematch is what he wants next.
“It has to be. I’m not the type of person who’s like aw let these two guys fight and this that and the other. We run it back.”
Billam-Smith agreed that Okolie would want nothing else but a chance at redemption.
“He’s a proud man. He’s winner at heart and I think that makes sense for him and also why wouldn’t he. You’ve got a world title opportunity again, it’s not like I’ve sparked him out clean. So, yeah, I’d expect him to want the rematch.”