Lawrence Okolie looks to have a new opponent sealed for his big night.
The cruiserweight, who has raced to 14-0 with 11 KOs in the pro ranks since turning over, will box on Saturday at the SSE Arena in Wembley, London.
Okolie is a former British and European champion who has also held the Commonwealth title twice and the WBA Continental bauble and he had been set to meet a former world champion in the shape of Krszystof Glowacki on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s next fight.
Joshua, whose 258 Management company looks after Okolie’s career, will put his WBO, WBA Super, IBF and IBO world titles on the line against Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev, the IBF’s mandatory challenger, exclusively live on Sky Sports Box Office and DAZN.
‘The Sauce’ was meant to face Poland’s Glowacki for the vacant WBO world title in the 200-pound division on the same bill, but it was revealed recently that the 34-year-old (31-2, 19 KOs) had contracted COVID-19, ruling him out of the showdown.
A shortlist of replacements was drawn up by Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Sport, with Michal Cieslak seemingly top of the pile.
Cieslak (20-1, 14 KOs) was in action last Saturday and knocked out Taylor Mabika inside six rounds, with Okolie tweeting shortly after: ‘We have a fight.’
Boxing Scene, however, understands that a change of heart has now been had and the man who will box Okolie on Saturday night in England’s capital will instead be Nikodem Jezewski.
Jezewski, like Glowacki and Cieslak, is Polish and has a record of 19-0-1 with nine quick finishes. The 29-year-old was last in the ring back in October when he won the Republic of Poland title with an unanimous decision over Marek Prochazka.
No announcement has yet been made by the official channels regarding a replacement opponent for Okolie, but Boxing Scene believes it will be made during fight week –– after pictures were posted on social media of the fighter boarding a plane –– ahead of Joshua’s first outing in more than 12 months since he outpointed Andy Ruiz Jr. at the Diriyah Arena in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia to become a two-time global ruler.
Qais Ashfaq, who is now also under 258 Management, will get the chance to bounce back from his first career defeat when he faces Ashley Lane on the undercard and heavyweight Hughie Fury is in action against former Dillian Whyte foe Mariusz Wach.
Martin Bakole faces Sergey Kuzmin for the vacant WBC International title in the sport’s premier division after it was relinquished by Filip Hrgovic of Croatia and Senegal-born Frenchman Souleymane Cissokho, who won a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics back in 2016, will face former British super-welterweight title challenger Kieron Conway over 10 rounds.
But Ramla Ali, who made her professional debut back in October, will not feature as planned on the card after being diagnosed with COVID-19.