Lawrence Okolie and Chris Billam-Smith was associates. They is likely to be as soon as once more, however solely after their cruiserweight world title battle on Saturday night time.
There was nothing however chilly professionalism between the 2 underneath the recent solar on Bournemouth Pier at Thursday’s press convention.
Sparring companions once they have been each at Shane McGuigan’s health club, they may field for Okolie’s WBO belt on the 15,000 seat Vitality Stadium this weekend, stay on Sky Sports activities.
For Billam-Smith boxing in his hometown towards Okolie for a world title is a second of future.
However the champion had a harsh message for him.
“I am coming to make a particularly huge assertion,” Okolie declared. “I am my very own man by myself journey and there is stuff that I need and want and I am able to battle for it.”
When he noticed Billam-Smith at the day gone by’s public exercise, Okolie calmly predicted he’d win by knockout.
“I constructed him up, [thinking] this man’s a monster, he will be throwing punch after punch,” Okolie stated. “Then I noticed him and it is only a man.
“I’ve proven time and time once more I am able to take the danger and do what must be executed.
“I can say I am in superb form and I am coming to do a job.”
Billam-Smith is aware of he’s going up towards a robust champion. However he expects to be impressed on the night time.
“I received to see the stadium yesterday and it put an enormous smile on my face and crammed me with lots emotion,” he stated. “I have been visualising this and planning for this for a few years.
“We’re proper on the pinnacle.”
“There cannot be any extra strain on me in the remainder of my profession than this Saturday night time,” Billam-Smith continued. “This entire present is constructed round me.
“I at all times say strain’s a privilege and I soak it up.”
The duel between the 2 corners will even be an intriguing subplot. McGuigan was Okolie’s former coach, however has coached Billam-Smith all through his profession.
He thinks it may solely be an excellent factor for the competition that the 2 fighters know one another nicely.
“Watching [Okolie] spar numerous rounds, they each had loads of success. Let’s examine who does it greatest with the small gloves on,” McGuigan stated.
“Chris profitable on Saturday makes him a celebrity. The primary man to carry a world title battle right down to Bournemouth.”
SugarHill Steward, Okolie’s new coach, is not involved about how acquainted the 2 fighters are with each other.
“I do know they sparred lots collectively,” the American coach stated. “It is solely regular in boxing.
“All of it simply counts on the night time. It is as much as these two fighters to determine what they’ll do to one another.”
He relishes the problem Billam-Smith in Bournemouth will give Okolie.
“The gang out right here is electrical,” Steward stated. “I do know this place goes to go loopy and I am excited to be part of it.”