Gareth A. Davies is one of many who believe WBO cruiserweight champion Lawrence Okolie should have been disqualified for the excessive grappling he performed during a twelve-round majority vote loss to Chris Billiam-Smith at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth, England.
Referee Marcus McDonnell didn’t feel like it, he decided to deduct points from Okolie (19-1, 14 KOs) in rounds five and seven, but he let him go anyway, not going a full yard, ejecting him from there.
It was obvious that Okolie outplayed the system by throwing one or two shots and then rushing to wrap Billiam-Smith in a clinch to stop him from taking shots.
Billiam Smith eventually timed these Okolie moves and dropped it three times to win with scores of 116-107, 112-112 and 115-108.
Okolie should be disqualified
“It’s a fantastic atmosphere. I watched it. I mean, I personally picked Okolie to win over the late break and obviously I was wrong but when I watched the fight yesterday you know and watching it back I feel like (referee) Marcus McDonald should have actually disqualified Lawrence Okolie by about seven or eight rounds,” said Gareth A. Davies TalkSport Boxing.
“I mean, I was busy with the atmosphere, the soothing atmosphere at night, of course, when we were commenting live, and we recorded it. Okolie was winning some rounds but was deducted five points for three knockdowns and two points for holdings, when I looked back yesterday, to be honest I got to about round seven and I was screaming at the TV the second time I watch it I’m like, “No Marcus, you should have properly disqualified Lawrence.”
“Yeah, it was just relentless,” Gareth said when asked if he thought Okolie should have been disqualified because of the grappling he had with Billiam-Smith. “I think there were about nine warnings during the fight and that was just too much.
“When you go back in time, Simon will remember that. Mills Lane, a judge who never accepted such things, and if you remember Lennox Lewis and Henry Akinwande. Atkinwande did not want to fight. He was disqualified.
“That’s how it should be because again, not wanting to take anything away from being involved tonight, I just think it’s one of the worst world title fights I’ve ever seen in terms of what happened if it’s about me holding and grabbing. Consistent holding and grappling in the ring at night. Billiam-Smith is rightly a champion,” said Gareth.
Lawrence would be booed
“Yeah, I mean it wasn’t that much because obviously Chris Billiam-Smith was a home fighter who went into a very good atmosphere, did the job and got the result that all the fans in the stadium would have wanted, and they’ve seen other fights. Sam Eggington put on a great performance stopping Joe Pickford in the fight,” said Simon Jordan.
“So Gareth was absolutely right. The quality of the fight wasn’t the best, and the way Lawrence chose to behave, which was his constant trait, led to a situation where during the fight I said to Ben Shalom: “He’s going to be disqualified soon if he’s not careful, but the very nature of Chris Billiam -Smitha comes to light when you look at the flaws you had.
“You look at the size of Okolie compared to Chris, but you look at the difference in wingspan, but it wasn’t a great fight, it was a great result for Chris Billiam-Smith, and there’s no nicer kid to win a world title.
“I think Gareth will confirm that, but it wasn’t quality, it wasn’t a quality fight. It was an exciting evening. If it had been at the O2 or London people would have booed because there was no quality but because that was the nature of the circumstances where a home player would potentially win the world title.
“I mean, what do you think of Okolie?” I thought he came in, Gav. He was so loose and relaxed; it was almost like he was leaning back,” said Simon.
Referees can now penalize Okolie
“Yeah, definitely, it was a very strange performance from him,” said Gareth. “I think what happened was his ‘Smash & Grab’ style, as I’ve been calling it for a while. You know where he throws the punch, he moves in two steps and he holds, and he does it consistently throughout his career.
“Up to that point, no one had really been able to hurt him. This was somewhat exposed by the boxing of David Light the Australian but what Chris Billiam-Smith did knowing Lawrence as he sparred hundreds of rounds with him as they were stablemates under trainer Shane McGuigan was revealed in style .
“The problem for Lawrence, even though he has been called for the rematch, is that now he will be called by every judge and I fear for him that he will not be able to change his style at this age. I dare to think what the rematch will be like,” Gareth said of Okolie.