Chris Billam-Smith took the WBO cruiserweight title from Lawrence Okolie today, achieving a dream at home in Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium, but man, was it a weird path to getting there.
Two point deductions, one real knockdown, and two questionable knockdowns “highlighted” a fight that saw Billam-Smith pick up the win on majority decision scores of 112-112, 115-108, and 116-107.
Bad Left Hook unofficially scored the fight 112-111 for Billam-Smith, giving him just four rounds of the bout, where he really didn’t actually do a whole lot, but it’s hard to feel too terribly for Okolie given he was at an all-time worst with his blatant holding — which cost him two points and could have easily cost him more, or even gotten him disqualified in a sport where rules were actually followed.
Billam-Smith (18-1, 12 KO) got a real knockdown in round four, and two questionable knockdowns in the 10th and 11th rounds, and Okolie (19-1, 14 KO) was docked points for holding in rounds five and seven.
There will likely be few tears shed for the end of Okolie’s reign, as he hasn’t exactly been a fan-friendly TV fighter, but with how this fight went and the way it turned out on the cards — and the fact that it’s really not hard to score the fight closer than the two judges had it for Billam-Smith — there could be a rematch, even with as ugly as this was.
And while it was ugly, it was at least sort of fascinatingly ugly.
Okolie vs Billam-Smith highlights
Undercard highlights and results
- Sam Eggington TKO-5 Joe Pigford
A knockout! @eggington_sam works tirelessly to create an opening and earns an empathic TKO over a brave Joe Pigford. An impressive performance from The Savage #OkolieBillamSmith | Now |@SkySportsBoxing | @whodaresgyms @joek4global pic.twitter.com/vdNYfO1C28— BOXXER (@boxxer) May 27, 2023
- Karriss Artingstall PTS-8 Jade Taylor (79-72)
- Lee Cutler PTS-10 Stanley Stannard (97-95)
- Michael McKinson TKO-7 Lebin Morales (1:25)