Brit Lawrence Okolie was the WBO world heavyweight champion before knocking out Krzysztof Glowacki in the sixth round.
In only his 16th year. In the pro fight, Okole used his size and reach to never get near the Pole Glowacki.
He began to unload his right hand in the fourth round and looked utterly calm for the former world champion.
The point on the right ends and gives the 28-year-old Okoli his first world title.
I guess I can cry in a hotel room, but not in front of others. It’s a blessed feeling. It’s crazy, Okoli told Radio 5 Live.
It’s important that I become one of the best cruise movers in the UK, and I have the opportunity to do that. It’s a good win, but there are other events to come.
So many people I can inspire
Okolie thanked his coach Shane McGuigan (second from left) for believing he could win a world title.
The Hackney fighter has come a long way in every sense of the word. Bullied as a teenager, he used boxing to boost his confidence and lose weight. After an Olympic appearance in 2016, his first few years as a professional were the subject of harsh words and derision as a series of fights turned into dismal, sordid affairs.
But Okoli’s work ethic in the gym and his will to get better impressed him, and coming into the picture as a boxer catapulted him to a world title fight that he dominated from start to finish.
Glowacki is 34 and has only beaten Alexander Usyk and Mairis Briedis twice – there was simply no answer. Okoli’s supporters talk about the embarrassment his massive physique causes and believe he will continue to be a threat at heavyweight.
Here his size allowed him to work from a distance, and his strength shone when called upon.
A clever hook in the first, a sharp jab in the third and a series of hard right hooks in the fourth left the bloodthirsty Glowacki in no doubt that his opponent was more than capable of dealing with the experience advantage.
And in the sixth round, when Glowacki cringed for a second looking for an opening, he didn’t get a beat with a right jab to the jaw and got the world title. Okoli believes he can use it to inspire children in the area where he grew up.
I’ve been giving all these interviews and I realize what this means – not just to me, but to so many people I can inspire – I feel good about going and doing it, Okoli said.
I’m slowly coming to my senses and starting to believe in boxing. I used to believe only in my physical strength, that I could hit someone hard and stop them. Now we’re gonna box. Hang in there, move fast… I’m just happy to see progress.
|Anthony Joshua (heavyweight – IBF, WBA, WBO)||Savannah Marshall (middleweight – WBO)|
|Tyson Fury (heavyweight – WBC)||Chantelle Cameron (super lightweight – WBC)|
|Lawrence Okoli (WBO heavyweight)||Katie Taylor (WBA, WBO, IBF, WBC)|
|Billy Joe Sanders (super middleweight – WBO)||Terry Harper (Super Featherweight – WBC)|
|Josh Taylor (super lightweight – WBA and IBF)|
Some might point to the fact that Glowacki was out of the ring for 21 months – including a period when Covid-19 suffered – as evidence that the fighter was vulnerable.
But Okoli’s calm showing, the ease with which he handled the lead and the devastating finish gave the fighter all the points.
A world title seemed like a distant dream when he worked at McDonald’s less than a decade ago, and when criticism led to ugly ads in 2018.
This is not the first time Okoli has finished the event with world champion status, in addition to the British, Commonwealth and European honours he has already achieved.
Unite and Hit Heavyweight – What They Said…..
Okolie said promoter Eddie Hearn promised him a gold watch if he became world champion.
Steve Bunce, Radio 5 Live box analyst: There are a few people in British boxing who think Okoli is arrogant, that he has too much of a temper.
There’s a hint of Nazim Hamed in there. It’s confidence, not arrogance. He really is a good man. It’s pure trust.
We saw him in that fight – he never took his eyes off what he had to do. Every moment he was thinking and learning. He could have tried to force it, but he didn’t. That’s what I like about him.
Developer Eddie Hearn: It was a great achievement to win the world title. Krzysztof Glowacki is one of the top five cruisers in the world.
He’s a rookie and he’s had 15 fights tonight, and you just wonder if he’s good enough? My God, that was as good an achievement as winning the light heavyweight title. That’s what we want to do, unify the division and then move on to the heavyweights.
British heavyweight Joe Joyce is live on Radio 5: Okoli is getting better and stronger. Great distance, destructive power. I’m looking forward to the big fights for him.
As embarrassing as it is, the social response.
former world champion Liam SmithBritish super middleweight Chris Eubank Jrformer European champion Spencer Oliver foot
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