On March 20 2021, Lawrence Okolie achieved what most boxers spend their careers dreaming of when he became a world champion.
The 6ft 5in cruiserweight had gone through the traditional route early on, winning the British, Commonwealth and European titles before deciding to move into the big leagues of world level.
Shortly after Okolie’s 15th professional outing, the WBO world title became vacant and the Brit was offered the chance to take on former world champion, Krzysztof Glowacki, for the coveted belt.
It was a battle of youth vs experience, but on the night Okolie seemed like the more seasoned fighter putting in a punch perfect performance.
Such is the power of Okolie, who has ambitions to move up to heavyweight in the near future, that the fight did not go the distance.
In the sixth round, Okolie landed a crushing right hand to the chin of Glowacki, whose legs immediately buckled and he was laid flat out on the canvas.
The Pole bravely made it back to his feet, but it was clear he was not all there, as the referee rightly waved off the contest and Okolie was crowned world champion.
Okolie reminisced on that night, as he told talkSPORT: “I was coming off an injury for that fight, so it aided in my style for that fight and it’s one that I’m going to use going forward, it was all about control.
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“I couldn’t throw the right hand when I usually do, so I had to be selective about it, when and how I punch and that forced me to use my left and my movement and we got it done.”
In terms of his celebration after the fight, Okolie kept it modest of course with the fight coming at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was lockdown so there was no party,” Okolie said.
“We just hung out really, me and whatever the legal limit was of same household people and we just sat and meditated.”
Nothing has been the same since he remarked in a social media post a year on since winning the belt.
Since then, ‘The Sauce’ has defended his title twice and his next defence will come against New Zealand’s David Light on March 25 in Manchester.
“He’s a challenge, he’s 20 undefeated, a commonwealth silver medallist, so he’s got pedigree and self belief,” Okolie said about his upcoming opponent.
“He’s got a good training team and a whole country behind him, so he’s going to come and give it a good shot and I have to stop him.”
In terms of a fight night prediction, Okolie said: “I know I’m going to win, but I can’t quite see it yet until I see him in real life whether it’s going to be a quick knock, a mid-round knock out.
“It’s only when you get in the ring that you get a feel for it, but I see myself dominating from range and forcing him to make mistakes or dive in or try too hard and then I’ll get rid of him.”
Joshua vs Franklin on talkSPORT
Anthony Joshua’s quest to become a three-time heavyweight champion begins on 1 April against Jermaine Franklin and talkSPORT will be live from London’s O2 to bring you coverage of the fight.
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