CHRIS BILLAM-SMITH says Lawrence Okolie has a rematch clause in place should he lose on Saturday night.
The two cruiserweights will battle it out at AFC Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium in front of a 15,000 crowd outdoors.
Fighting at home certainly favours Billam-Smith and he will have the lion’s share of the support. Should he win, however, then the two friends will have to go at it again.
“He asked for a rematch clause. He’s got a rematch clause. We’ll see if he wants it after Saturday night,” Billam-Smith told Sky Sports.
“He might blame the weight; he might want to go up to heavyweight. I think he’s a competitive guy. I think he’ll want the rematch.”
The build-up has been centred around the two fighters as well as Shane McGuigan. The trainer will be in the corner of Billam-Smith come Saturday but was once also shoulder to shoulder with Okolie on fight nights until recently.
In February Okolie announced he would be working with Sugar Hill having departed McGuigan’s gym. The American, a nephew of the legendary Emmanuel Steward, is best known for training Tyson Fury and bringing a more offensive side out in the heavyweight.
When the first bell rings on Saturday Okolie and Billam-Smith should know each other’s strengths and weaknesses very well having sparred hundreds of rounds together.
“It’s going to be very different than 16 or 18 ounce gloves to 10 ounce [competition] gloves,” said Billam-Smith.
“He never buzzed me with 18 ounce gloves on but you’ve got a head guard and 18 ounce gloves on. It’s not like [I can think] ‘he never buzzed me so I can just go in there and take his shots’.
“I’ve got to stay concentrated. It’s not just going in there, just going hell for leather. That’s not how this game works at the top level. It’s got to be concentration the whole time and focus. That’s how the job will get done.
“I think we’ll shake hands after the fight. Hopefully he’ll be in an okay mood even though he’s been beat.”