Lawrence Okolie says his heart is telling him to take a leap up in levels and fight for a world title in his next bout.
The British and Commonwealth cruiserweight champion, now 12-0 (9 KOs), has been professional for exactly two years and in that time cleaned up the domestic scene.
A logical next step would see the Rio 2016 Olympian slowly test his ability at European level before dipping his toes into the world pool, however an opportunity may have arisen that could allow him to bypass this.
“I would obviously fight anyone, genuinely anyone,” Okolie told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast on talkSPORT.
“If they said, this date, this is how much you’re getting, let’s go to work – then I’m gonna go to work.
“Which is probably why I’ve managed to move so quickly as an amateur and so quickly as a pro.”
After Okolie’s win over Wadi Camacho on Saturday, promoter Eddie Hearn revealed that the Denis Lebedev fight will be available, should his team want to take it next.
The vastly experience 39-year-old Russian has been pro since 2001 and held the WBA world title between 2012-2018, before being made ‘Champion In Recess’ due to an absence from the ring.
With Oleksandr Usyk set to move up to heavyweight, Lebedev will almost certainly be reinstated as WBA champion, with Hearn claiming he can secure his first defence against the Brit.
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“There’s mixed opinions in the camp right now about what to do,” Okolie explained. “But my heart says I should go for the Lebedev fight if it’s offered. So that’s what I’ll do.
“Obviously I have to take note, whatever really makes sense, that’s what I’ll go for.
“I think the Lebedev fight makes sense, but I’ll see.”
Charlie Edwards, Joshua Buatsi and Lawrence Okolie recorded victories on Saturday night in London.
The UK trio were heavy favourites heading into their bouts and lived up to expectations as all three came through unscathed.
Edwards headlined the night in the first defence of his WBC flyweight world title against the game – but ultimately overmatched – Angel Moreno.
The Spanish challenger’s wild tactics proved futile in the face of the Brit world champ, as Charlie Edwards picked him off at will with precise counter-punches.
An eighth-round knockdown only widened the margin of victory as the three scoring judges all had Charlie Edwards winning every round with final scores of 120-107, 120-107, 120-107.
Earlier in the night, Joshua Buatsi knocked out Liam Conroy in three rounds to win the British light-heavyweight title.
The Olympic bronze medallist moved to 10-0 (8 KOs) with another clinical performance and another early stoppage.
Buatsi showed brutal finishing instinct, initially bludgeoning Conroy to the floor with a left uppercut before ending the bout with a ruthless straight right hand after his opponent briefly made it back to his feet.
Also on the card, Lawrence Okolie stopped Wadi Camacho in four to unify the British and Commonwealth cruiserweight belts.
It wasn’t entirely pretty as Okolie’s fights rarely are, but yet again the awkward power-puncher got the job done and remained unbeaten, now 12-0 (9 KOs).
Having overcome a rough moment in the third round, the eventual victor came straight out on the front foot. His combination of hooks forced Camacho to take a knee and, when he arose, the ‘Sauce’ pounced to finish the fight with a straight right.
In additional action, Lewis Ritson beat German Benitez by decision and Shannon Courtenay won her pro debut.
Charlie Edwards will make the first defence of his WBC flyweight world title against Angel Moreno on Saturday night.
The 26-year-old claimed his belt with an impressive decision win over Cristofer Rosales in December and is now ready to return to the ring.
Rising prospects Joshua Buatsi and Lawrence Okolie will also be on the show in British title bouts.
Buatsi faces Liam Conroy for the vacant domestic light-heavyweight belt while Okolie defends his UK crown against Wadi Camacho.
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Charlie Edwards, Joshua Buatsi and Lawrence Okolie: When and where are the fights?
The fights will take place on Saturday, March 23.
London’s Copper Box Arena is set to host the event.
Charlie Edwards, Joshua Buatsi and Lawrence Okolie: Which TV channel is it on and can I live stream it?
Edwards, Buatsi and Okolie will be shown live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Arena.
It will be free to view for Sky customers. Non-Sky subscribers can still watch by purchasing a NOW TV pass from £7.99.
Charlie Edwards, Joshua Buatsi and Lawrence Okolie: Who is on the undercard?
- Charlie Edwards vs Angel Moreno (WBC Flyweight Title)
- Joshua Buatsi vs Liam Conroy (British Light-Heavyweight Title)
- Lawrence Okolie vs Wadi Camacho (British and Commonwealth Cruiserweight Titles)
- Lewis Ritson vs German Argentino Benitez (Super-Lightweight)
- Jason Quigley vs Mathias Eklund (Middleweight)
- Shannon Courtenay vs Cristina Busuioc (Bantamweight)
- Sean McGoldrick vs Sean Cairns (Bantamweight)
- Lewis Syrett vs Danail Stoyanov (Middleweight)
- Tom Ansell vs Chris Adaway (Super-Lightweight)
Charlie Edwards, Joshua Buatsi and Lawrence Okolie: What is the UK start time?
Sky Sports will have full coverage of the whole evening from 7:00pm while the main event is expected at around 10:00pm/10:30pm.
Dillian Whyte has promised he would end Lawrence Okolie’s career should the two ever meet in the ring.
The Brixton heavyweight slammed his Hackney rival after he reiterated his desire to fight him down the line.
A dispute originally broke out when Whyte (25-1, Heavyweight) appeared on Sky Sports and called out Okolie (11-0, Cruiserweight) for a fight with his friend Richard Riakporhe – a 9-0 cruiserweight he also manages.
Despite being British cruiserweight champion, Okolie didn’t take kindly to being targeted by his domestic rivals and instead declared he would beat Whyte himself, before then posting old footage of them sparring together.
“My aim wasn’t ever to cause a stir with that,” Okolie explained to Sky Sports.
“When there are fighters who are below me, or coaches, or people that I won’t engage, but Dillian Whyte spoke about me on the day that I posted. I didn’t like what was said, so that’s his opinion of my boxing, so I made my opinion on him and me boxing.
“In terms of moving up to heavyweight, I believe definitely it’s something that’s going to happen.
“I’m not going to single him out and say I’m gunning for Dillian Whyte. I’m doing my own career, but at the end of the day, I don’t say stuff for no reason.”
Upon hearing these latest quotes, Whyte replied: “Look, I don’t have much time for sparring stories. Sparring is sparring, but Okolie is living on another planet.
“I only sparred Okolie twice over two days in 2015 and the second time he was very arrogant, so I put a little pressure on him and he folded and had to be helped out of the ring and miss his next fight because of his injuries.
“Instead of trying to get my attention, he should concentrate on the cruiserweight division where he has already twice pulled out of fights against Richard Riakporhe who I 100 per cent believe would knock him out.
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“Okolie is a complete hype job. He’s already pulled out of two fights against Richard and that’s before I even managed him. If I fought him, I’d snap him in two like a twiglet.
“Okolie and his handful of supporters call themselves ‘Penny Bois’, which is a great name for him as that’s all he’ll earn off boxing, pennies; as he has no real talent, no heart, no chin and nothing about him is likeable.
“If Okolie steps up to heavyweight I would end his career. He is one of the most deluded boxers in the history of boxing. Okolie is a joke, without AJ backing him, he’d still be working in McDonald’s.”
Dillian Whyte and Lawrence Okolie engaged in an angry war of words over social media on Saturday night.
The situation arose when Whyte (25-1, Heavyweight) appeared on Sky Sports and called out Okolie (11-0, Cruiserweight) for a fight with his friend Richard Riakporhe – a 9-0 cruiserweight who he also manages.
*(Okolie shirtless with red headguard – Whyte wearing blue shirt with black headguard)*
Despite being British cruiserweight champion, Lawrence Okolie didn’t take kindly to being targeted by his domestic rivals and instead declared that he would beat Dillian Whyte himself.
The irritated Brixton man then replied and told his Hackney rival that they would see each other in person to settle this issue soon enough.
After some more back and forth, Okolie opted to post the above clip showing 24 seconds of old sparring footage in which he claims he is “slapping about” Dillian Whyte.
Take a look at the sparring video above or read the war of words below.
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Ted Cheeseman suffered his first defeat as a professional last night, being outclassed by Sergio Garcia at The O2.
Spaniard Garcia retained his European title with a unanimous points win over Cheeseman as judges scored the bout 119-109 119-109 115-114.
Lawrence Okolie continued his impressive form since turning pro, knocking down Hungarian Tamas Lodi several times before stopping him after three rounds.
Craig Richards took out Jake Ball in the third round to claim the WBA continental light-heavyweight title.
And Felix Cash saw off Rasheed Abolaji inside the opening round to win the vacant Commonwealth middleweight title.
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Boxing results from The O2
Sergio Garcia beat Ted Cheeseman UD (super-welterweight)
Lawrence Okolie beat Tamas Lodi TCO round 3 (Cruiserweight)
Felix Cash beat Rasheed Abolaji KO round 1 (middleweight)
Craig Richards beat Jake Ball TCO round 3 (light-heavyweight)
Scott Fitzgerald beat Radoslav Mitev TCO round 2 (welterweight)
John Docherty beat v Przemyslaw Binienda KO round 1 (super-middleweight)
Fabio Wardley beat Morgan Dessaux KO round 1 (heavyweight)
Dana Zaxo beat Tayar Mehmed PTS (light-heavyweight)
What’s up next?
Click here for a full schedule for the upcoming fights including James DeGale vs Chris Eubank Jr, Anthony Yarde vs Mehdi Amar and Luis Ortiz vs Christian Hammer.
Ted Cheeseman takes on Sergio Garcia in London for the EBU super-welterweight title.
Both fighters head into the intriguing bout with undefeated professional records – Cheeseman having most recently beaten Asinia Byfield in October.
The 23-year-old Londoner claimed the British super-welterweight title in that victory and is now going for European glory against Garcia.
There’s a packed undercard for the fight, which includes undefeated British ace Lawrence ‘The Sauce’ Okolie, and here’s all you need to know.
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Ted Cheeseman v Sergio Garcia: When and where is it?
The fight will take place on Saturday, February 2 at London’s O2 Arena.
The bout should get underway at around 10:30pm but it will depend on the undercard results.
Ted Cheeseman v Sergio Garcia: Which TV channel is it on and can I live stream it?
Cheeseman v Garcia will be shown live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Arena and will be free to view for Sky customers.
They will have full coverage of the whole evening on Arena from 7:30pm while their Main Event programme begins at 10pm.
Non-Sky subscribers can still watch by purchasing a NOW TV pass from £7.99.
Ted Cheeseman v Sergio Garcia: What are their records?
Cheeseman has taken to the ring 15 times as a professional to date and won on each occasion, claiming nine KOs.
Garcia, who is 26 years old and from Spain, has won all of his 28 bouts, 13 by the way of knock out.
Ted Cheeseman v Sergio Garcia: Who is on the undercard?
Ted Cheeseman v Sergio Garcia (super-welterweight)
Lawrence Okolie v TBC (Cruiserweight)
Felix Cash v Rasheed Abolaji (middleweight)
Jake Ball v Craig Richards (light-heavyweight)
John Docherty v TBC (super-middleweight)
Charles Frankham v TBC (super-featherweight)
Fabio Wardley v TBC (heavyweight)
Dana Zaxo v TBC (light-heavyweight)
Lawrence Okolie was unsure what he’d find when he accepted an invitation to spar with Tyson Fury in preparation for his fight with Deontay Wilder on Saturday night.
Having previously seen the ‘Gypsy King’s’ first two comeback fights following a two-and-a-half year absence, the 25-year-old was far from convinced about his fellow Brit’s chances, however soon changed his mind after sharing the ring with him.
Okolie flew out to LA to join up with Fury’s camp a few weeks back and told IFLTV about his experiences in the gym.
“I think he’s a lot different from what he was on TV the last couple of fights,” the Hackney man began.
“He’s shifted a bit more weight and I was surprised by how well he could stay on his feet for the rounds. He was very able to keep moving.
“In terms of boxing, from watching [Wilder] and from sparring Tyson, I would say Tyson is on a completely different planet from him in terms of boxing IQ and decision making.
“He would think defence before offence, he would set his stuff up, he’s not just throwing shots for the sake of throwing shots. He’s thinking, thinking, thinking.”
The British cruiserweight champion was brought in camp due to the fact he shares certain attributes with the American, namely his gangly, unorthodox, power punching style.
When asked whether the sparring changed his opinion of how Fury’s upcoming bout will play out, Okolie continued: “Definitely, 100 per cent.
“Before I went out there I believed that Wilder would take him out in four rounds or whatever, just going for it.
“I watched his [Tyson’s] first two comeback fights and I thought he’s looking a bit slow. He’s not taking it seriously.
“But seeing the change in this camp, the fact he is taking it seriously, it has changed my view on the fight definitely.”
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When pushed for a final prediction, he concluded: “I believe it will turn into a bit of a fight in the middle rounds.
“Depending on Wilder’s fitness Fury will either drown him late or win on points.”
You can watch the full IFLTV interview with Lawrence Okolie below.