In his 16th pro fight, British cruiserweight Lawrence Okolie (15-0, 12 KOs) can become a world champion tomorrow but faces his stiffest test vs. Poland’s Krzysztof Glowacki (31-2, 19 KOs) – who hasn’t fought in 23 months and will be itching to make up for lost time. Will the 28-year-old reign victorious, keeping his unbeaten streak or does Glowacki return to winning ways?
after covid-enforced delays, can okolie become a world champ?
wbo cruiserweight title: Glowacki (195.8lbs) vs okolie (199.4lbs)
Saturday night, ring walks 10pm bst from SSE Arena, Wembley
It was a necessary tune-up fight with bigger things in mind, though Okolie now has five consecutive knockout victories against domestic and European opposition.
Not bad for a man many continue to criticise for an unflattering boxing style, littered with clinching and generally being uninspiring to watch – not least with the power he possesses.
Ordered in December 2019, the timing of this bout was twice interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic but Okolie – having experienced bubble life four months ago – hopes to do better than compatriot and welterweight Josh Kelly fared against Russia’s David Avanesyan last month.
That European welterweight title bout was rightly described as a step-up in class for the 27-year-old, who also represented Team GB at the 2016 Rio Olympics like Okolie. Even with a long layoff, Lawrence is rightly expecting the best Glowacki to share the ring with him on Saturday night.
Glowacki, who said he had some stamina issues when initially returning to training, vowed to end Okolie’s unbeaten record and become a WBO cruiserweight champion for the third time:
“Every cloud has a silver lining, now I feel better than in December. I feel pumped up and hugely motivated for this fight and Okolie isn’t going to beat me. I will retrieve my belt, bring it back to Poland – there is no other option.
He’s big, strong, has long arms and a huge reach but I’ve noticed some weaknesses that you will see on the night. I’m ready, I’ve had a lot of sparring partners who were tall and uncomfortable.”
His two defeats were against Usyk (September 2016) and Latvia’s Mairis Briedis (27-1, 19 KOs) in June 2019 – a controversial third-round stoppage. Will he make good on his comments?
Rest of the card, is as follows (10 rounds unless stated):
Lightweight: Joe Cordina (11-0, 7 KOs) vs. Faroukh Kourbanov (17-2, 3 KOs)
Junior-middleweight: Anthony Fowler (13-1, 10 KOs) vs Jorge Fortea (21-2-1, 7 KOs)
Featherweight, six rounds: Ellie Scotney (1-0) vs Mailys Gangloff (4-1, 1 KOs)
Cruiserweight: Chris Billam-Smith (11-1, 10 KOs) vs Vasil Ducar (9-3-1, 8 KOs)
Featherweight, six rounds: Ramla Ali (1-0) vs Bec Connolly (3-8)
Middleweight, eight rounds: Bradley Rea (9-0, 3 KOs) vs Lee Cutler (7-0, 4 KOs)
Picture source: BoxingScene and Getty