The absence of a firm fight date hasn’t dulled Lawrence Okolie’s anticipation of his first major title challenge.
The unbeaten cruiserweight contender from the London Borough of Hackney, England patiently awaits marching orders for a date and location to host his vacant title fight versus Poland’s Krzysztof Glowacki (31-2, 19KOs). Both sides have already agreed in principle, but are forced to wait out a few moving parts in order to eventually settle their differences in the ring.
“We were looking at the [Gennadiy] Golovkin card for that fight if it landed in Chicago (on March 28 as originally proposed), “Eddie Hearn, Okolie’s career-long promoter explained to BoxingScene.com of the current delay. That show now looks like it’s going to April now. London, Chicago, New York, somewhere like that.”
Okolie (14-0, 10KOs) was the number-two ranked contender at the time of the World Boxing Organization (WBO) officially being declared vacant late in 2019. The 2016 Olympic heavyweight representative for Great Britain maneuvered into contention following his biggest win to date, a 7th round stoppage of previously unbeaten Yves Ngabu last October.
In Glowacki, he will face a rugged two-time cruiserweight titlist who will represent by far his stiffest challenge to date. The 33-year old southpaw rose to prominence following an off-the-canvas 11th round knockout of record-tying cruiserweight titlist in August 2015 to win the crown. Just one successful defense followed before conceding the belt to Oleksandr Usyk, who would go on to become undisputed champion and arguably the greatest cruiserweight of all time.
Since then has come a win over Maksim Vlasov in October 2018 and a controversial stoppage loss to top-rated cruiserweight and former champ Mairis Briedis last June. The foul-filled, poorly officiated slugfest prompted the WBO to order an immediate rematch, to which Briedis declined and thus relinquished his title in the process.
There is a sense that the vacant title fight is too much, too soon for the 27-year old Okolie, who is only coming up on his third full year in the pro ranks. As much is acknowledged by his team, and also recognized as his mantra.
“Okolie has always jumped into fights he wasn’t supposed to be ready for,” insists Hearn. “It’s too early for him to fight Glowacki. But it’s a 50/50 fight for a world title. He has to take his shot.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox