Lawrence Okolie, a boxer of Nigerian descent who stars for Great Britain, delivered a punch-perfect display before landing a sixth-round knockout of Krzysztof Glowacki to become WBO world cruiserweight champion.
In just his 16th professional fight, Okolie used his height and reach to never allow Poland’s Glowacki close. He started unloading his right hand in the fourth and looked completely at ease against a former world champion. A pinpoint right ended matters, giving Okolie, 28, his first world title. “I think I might cry in my hotel room, but not in front of anyone. It’s a blessed feeling. It’s crazy,” Okolie said. “It’s important that I become one of Britain’s best cruiserweights and I have the opportunity to do that. This was a good win but there are more tests ahead.” The Hackney fighter has come a long way in every sense. Bullied in his teenage years, he used boxing to build self-esteem and shed weight. After an Olympic appearance in 2016, his early years as a professional were the focus of harsh words and ridicule when a run of fights descended into drab, scrappy affairs. But Okolie’s work ethic in the gym and desire to improve have impressed and a run of slicker displays thrust him into a world-title fight that he dominated from start to finish. A smart hook in the first, crisp jabs in the third and a succession of hard right hooks in the fourth left the bloodied Glowacki in no doubt that his opponent was more than capable of dealing with a gulf in experience. And in the sixth, when Glowacki crouched in search of an opening for a second too long, a right hand to the jaw left him unable to make the count and secured the world title Okolie believes will allow him to inspire children on the estate on which he grew up. “Doing all these interviews, realising how much this means – not just to me but to so many people that I can inspire – it feels amazing to go in and actually get it done,” added Okolie. “I’m coming into my own, starting to believe in boxing. I used to just believe in my physical strength, the fact I can hit someone hard and stop them. Now we’re getting into boxing. Keeping it long, moving it fast… I’m just happy that there’s progress.”