The PPV showing of Anthony Joshua‘s unified heavyweight world title defence against Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev should’ve afforded unbeaten Lawrence Okolie (14-0) a lofty platform for what would’ve been his maiden shot at his own world title, a positive Covid-19 test for Krzysztof Głowacki dashed those hopes at the very last minute, Okolie therefore has to settle for a bout with unbeaten Nikodem Jezewski (19-0-1) tucked away on the card.
Okolie divides opinion amongst British boxing fans - a bout with domestic rival Issac Chamberlain headlined the O2 Arena back in of February 2018 & despite the supposed bad blood & animosity between the pair the fight failed to deliver as a spectacle for the paying fans, then the clash with Matty Askin on the undercard of Joshua v Povetkin back in 2018 again flattered to deceived. As a result Okolie has been tagged ‘boring’ ‘unspectacular’ & such amongst the ever unsatisfied world of modern boxing fans but with just 14 professional bouts (11 KOs) & a pro career spanning just 3 years, the Hackney man has already held British, Commonwealth & European titles preceded by a successful amateur career.
That begs the question - should he be afforded a little more appreciation? In a word, yes. A KO ratio of 78%, including eye catching stoppage victories over Luke Watkins, Wadi Camacho & Yves Ngabu is testament to what Okolie is capable of therefore one may be more inclined to look at the approach undertaken of the man opposing him across the ring & the game-plan they employ. At 6’5 & possessing a reach of over 82 inches Okolie is a unit of a man & in order to avoid his punch power at distance many an opponent look to smother his work by stepping in close, tying up his long leavers as a result Okolie is left looking ungainly, awkward & quite messy. It’s been said in the build up to Saturday night that himself & his team have worked tirelessly to impose a new way of adapting to these somewhat negative tactics of his opposition, a game-plan to allow Okolie to flourish at his exciting, powerful & explosive best.
A late change of opponent is never ideal regardless of timing & as such it maybe just a case of just picking up the win for team Okolie before a rescheduled world title tilt in 2021, given he spent many a month training for the southpaw style of Glowacki only to be now posed with the orthodox stance of Jeweski Saturday night could be too early for us to witness the new & improved Lawrence Okolie but it could very well provide a fleeting peek at what the future holds.
Luke Carney of SimBoxx