Chris Billam-Smith becomes world champion with stadium win over Lawrence Okolie
Chris Billam-Smith delighted his home crowd as he defeated Lawrence Okolie to become the new WBO cruiserweight champion at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth.
A messy contest had many talking points but after 12 rounds, it was the local favourite who got the verdict with scores of 116-107 and 115-108 overruling an absurd 112-112 card.
A quiet start from both men saw the fight fail to explode into life but that all changed in round four when a left hook from Billam-Smith sent Okolie to the canvas.
Although he beat the count, the Londoner was clearly hurt as he tried his best to spoil the work from his oncoming opponent.
Two point deductions for persistent holding didn’t do much to boost the point count required by Okolie to hold onto his belts, and his case was further dented when he was dropped twice late on.
Okolie congratulated Billam-Smith for his efforts at the end of the contest and he insisted that he will be taking full advantage of the rematch clause that exists in his contract.