Even after a 23-month layoff, Poland’s Krzysztof Glowacki – a two-time cruiserweight champion – was billed as Lawrence Okolie’s toughest test after 16 fights. Instead, it looked anything but as the 28-year-old Brit cruised to a sixth-round KO win, producing a masterful performance to achieve his world championship dream: before reaffirming his desire to unify the division soon.
R6, 0:46 – Lawrence Okolie Knocks out Krzysztof Glowacki, becomes the new WBO cruiserweight champion
Ambling back to his corner after blasting Glowacki to the canvas with a blistering right-hand that caught him flush, you could see the moment setting in for Okolie.
“Am I a world champion?” Yes, you certainly are.
After a good but measured start, round four is where Okolie’s punches started to land with increasing frequency. Glowacki was visibly buzzed but did his best to ride the shots well, as the awkward contrast in styles saw him being caught with regular straight jabs and body shots.
This was a disciplined, clean striking display by Okolie, whose persistence and power punching at distance saw Glowacki cut at the end of round five. That proved the beginning of the end, as a beautiful knockout punch saw him end things early in the very next round.
Glowacki looked flat on his feet and struggled to truly get going, so despite attempts to recover in time to beat the referee’s count, it proved futile.
Post-fight comments as Okolie targets unification
Okolie spoke to Sky Sports afterwards, reflecting on an unforgettable night before calling Latvia’s Mairis Briedis – the IBF champion – as the challenge he wants next, if they can agree terms.
Briedis inflicted Glowacki’s first KO defeat after just three rounds in his last fight, June 2019.
“I feel happy, blessed, it’s surreal – take the time to thank my mum and dad, Eddie Hearn, AJ 258 [management], everyone who supported me from the beginning, all my boys… It’s amazing to be able to put an exclamation mark on my life, I just want to say that if you believe, anything in this life you can get.
On whether there were any nerves that Okolie didn’t truly belong on this stage:
“No. Shane McGuigan [trainer], everyone in the back is very calm and the thing is, you can lie to everyone but have to go home and live with yourself, I’ve been calm all week and that’s it really.
I have to thank Shane for the gameplan, he reminded me not to rush, got the power to knock anyone out and it went exactly to plan – I said between five-to-eight [rounds]. The first five rounds, he was struggling to catch up with me.”
“I would like to fight someone like Briedis next, [to become] unified in 17 fights, obviously any champion but he’s the one I’m looking at.”
He also told an anecdote about how, four-to-five years ago, promoter Eddie Hearn promised to buy him a gold sky dweller [expensive watch] if he eventually won a world title, and another when he unifies – which he jokingly said motivated him to prevail tonight.
Hearn meanwhile, had plenty to say himself:
“That was one of the great performances to win a world title, Glowacki is a two-time world champion, top five cruiserweight in the world, super experienced … sometimes he’s had criticism but been a novice, 15 fights and we’ve wondered, when you step up to that elite level, are you good enough?
My goodness, an absolute masterclass. The jab, footwork, right hand, work on the inside, good enough to beat any cruiserweight. We don’t want to muck around, go straight for all the titles and unify the division, then move up to heavyweight. Scary power, Shane’s done a tremendous job [developing].”
He revealed his pride for the 28-year-old, who was overweight and working at McDonalds before being inspired by Usain Bolt and Anthony Joshua’s Olympic success in 2012.
“Left that job, chased his dream in boxing and it sounds like a story I’m making up but he’s a real inspiration to young kids now, we saw a young kid with loads of talent – tonight he made it happen.”
Before the fight, he outlined his ambitious intentions. Per Boxing Scene, he said:
“If I’m able to win here, I need a unification fight next – it’s about pushing on every time. I won the Commonwealth, British, European and pushed on.
After I win the World Title, I want to unify and move up to heavyweight – it’s all there, just keeps me motivated in the gym, pushing for more.”
Picture source: boxingnewsonline.net, Express, Matchroom Boxing