Sports Journalist at FST, Gareth qualified as a journalist after graduating from university and spent over a decade as a freelance broadcast journalist, commentator and tipster before joining FST. Now living in Manchester, he is a long suffering Bolton Wanderers fan who also enjoys boxing, the NBA, tennis and rugby league.
Lawrence Okolie returns to the ring on Saturday with a tough match-up against Chris Billam-Smith at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth.
There are some fantastic potential match-ups in the cruiserweight division from a British perspective and this has all the ingredients to be a classic encounter, with WBO champion Okolie facing a former sparring partner as the ‘away’ fighter.
Okolie is the heavy favourite but Billam-Smith will fancy his chances of becoming a world champion in front of a home crowd.
Where to watch Okolie vs Billam-Smith
This 12-round cruiserweight contest will take place at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth, UK, on Saturday, May 27th.
The first fight on the card is due to start at around 7pm and the main event should get underway at around 10pm.
Okolie vs Billam-Smith will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK, the fight can also be streamed on their website and Sky Go app.
All prices quoted are from bet365 and new customers can get £30 in free bets by signing-up via the button below and betting £10.
Who is on the Okolie vs Billam-Smith undercard?
- Lawrence Okolie vs Chris Billam-Smith
- Mikael Lawal vs Isaac Chamberlain
- Lee Cutler vs Stanley Stannard
- Michael McKinson vs Lebin Morales
- Mace Ruegg vs Dean Dodge
- Lewis Edmondson vs Petar Nosic
- Alireza Ghadiri vs Jonatas Rodrigo Gomes de Oliveira
- Sam Eggington vs Joe Pigford
- Karriss Artingstall vs Jade Taylor
Okolie vs Billam-Smith prediction
This is a tricky fight to call for a number of reasons and the fact these two cruiserweights should know each other inside out after their previous sparring sessions makes this intriguing from a fan’s perspective, but difficult when it comes to betting.
Another issue us that Billam-Snith has a clear home advantage and Okolie hasn’t really been an away fighter before, while in a break from the norm both of these fighters clearly have plenty of respect for each other and there hasn’t been any animosity whatsoever in the build-up.
All of these factors make this hard to unpick, but on boxing ability alone the ‘Sauce’ has to be favoured and that is all we can really go on in terms of a prediction.
Billam-Smith produced a sensational knockout in his last outing against Armend Xhoxhaj in the fifth round but he did get caught a few times before that. The fact Xhoxhaj managed to connect suggests Okolie, who is clearly a big step up in class, should be able to land a few telling blows, and in what could be a fairly close contest a couple of eye-catching shots may make all the difference.
Okolie is unbeaten after 19 fights and 14 of his wins have come via stoppages, but his last two victories have been unanimous decision victories and Billam-Smith has never been stopped. The ‘Gentleman’ only has one loss on his CV and that was a split decision defeat to a quality operator in Richard Riakporhe, so backing Okolie to win by decision or technical decision is perhaps the best option here despite Billam-Smith’s home advantage.
Saturday’s Boxing Treble Tip
There are two featherweight world title fights taking place on Saturday as Michael Conlan faces Luis Alberto Lopez for the IBF belt in Belfast and Leigh Wood will attempt to reclaim the WBA strap in a rematch with Mauricio Lara in Manchester, and I’ve used those clashes to form this treble.
Okolie to win by decision or technical decision
Mauricio Lara to win in rounds 7-12
Vs Leigh Wood
The first meeting between these two fighters was a gruelling affair and it could be more of the same on Saturday. Lara managed to stop Wood in the seventh round last time they met and the British hopeful does have a tendency to leave himself open at times, that should give the Mexican the chance to end this contest early in Manchester. Wood should be well prepared for this rematch, however, and can make the second half of the fight so backing Lara to win in rounds 7-12.
Luis Alberto Lopez to win
Vs Michael Conlan
Conlan has the significant advantage of home backing for his clash with Luis Alberto Lopez in Belfast on Saturday but the Mexican is no stranger to fighting away from home, having claimed a win over Josh Warrington in Leeds last year. The Mexican is the more experienced boxer and has faced a higher standard of opposition, so he looks a very backable underdog in this match-up.
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