LAWRENCE Okolie is eager for a rematch with Chris Billam-Smith after losing his WBO cruiserweight title to the Bournemouth man on Saturday night, insisting: “I’m down, but I’m not out.”

Unbeaten in his previous 19 professional bouts and a big favourite to retain his world crown, Okolie was stunned by Billam-Smith at Vitality Stadium.

‘The Sauce’ was knocked down three times, eventually losing by majority decision after 12 gruelling rounds.

Reflecting on the defeat, Okolie said: “I feel really good. It was a good fight. For me, as long as I lose convinced that I’ve tried my best, I’m always alright with whatever happens.

“When I win, I don’t feel anything and when I lose I don’t feel anything, I just enjoy boxing and I know that we’re going to be able to go and come again.”

He added: “He (Billam-Smith) did a lot of good stuff in there. I was maybe a little bit too tense when I was letting the shots go.

“Now, after the fact, I can tell when I just let the shots go, it was working well.

“However, when I was there forcing it, nothing was coming off and he was able to get shots off after I had over-egged it. He was able to keep grinding.

“That, along with the first knockdown and good momentum for him played a massive factor.

“But, for me, there are a few tweaks that can make a big difference. I’m not really that fussed, I’m just eager to go and come again.”

Asked if he was surprised none of his big shots knocked former gym-mate Billam-Smith down, Okolie told the Daily Echo: “There was none that landed the way that I like to land.

“There were a couple of good shots, but I was too eager and I felt myself rushing in. I felt with the knockdown he got in the fourth and a couple of points (taken off), I was like ‘I’ve got to knock him out’, so I was there loading up as opposed to relaxing.

“I kind of lost track of rounds as well, which was quite annoying for me. Usually I’m quite composed, but I was like ‘oh, it’s round 10, we’ve got to push it’.

“I don’t really have much excuse or anything like that. I understand the game of boxing. He did well. Today is his day and tomorrow will be my day.”

Quizzed on if he is keen to invoke his rematch clause, Okolie insisted: “Yes, 100 per cent.

“At the end of the day, this is boxing. The main thing I know is that I’m down, but I’m not out.

“It was a good performance from Chris, and good work on my end.

“I’ll have to watch it back, but there was nothing in there that made me think ‘he’s unbelievable’.

“It was just a good performance on his part, he put everything on the line and he got his reward for it.

“But I will definitely be pushing for a rematch.”