One of the last remaining holdover bouts from the pandemic is finally ready for primetime.
Krzysztof Glowacki and Lawrence Okolie both made weight ahead of their oft-rescheduled vacant WBO cruiserweight title fight. Poland’s Glowacki (31-2, 19KOs) tipped the scale at a trim and fit 195.8 pounds, while Hackney’s Okolie (15-0, 12KOs) checked in at a fight night ready 199.4 pounds for their scheduled 12-round main event which airs live Saturday on Sky Sports and DAZN from SSE Arena, Wembley.
The pairing has been more than a year in the making, with the fight first ordered in Dec. 2019 during the WBO’s annual convention in Tokyo. The intention at the time was to stage this bout last spring, only to get interrupted by the initial wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
Several attempts to get this back on the schedule led to a targeted DAZN headliner in this very venue last Dec. 12th, only for Glowacki to test positive for COVID. Glowacki’s countryman, unbeaten Nikodem Jezewski stepped in on short notice to face Okolie who scored a 2nd round knockout in their downgraded non-title fight.
Okolie enters riding a six-fight knockout streak, with the aforementioned win over Jezewski marking his first fight since Oct. 2019. The 2016 Great Britain Olympian is a betting favorite to claim his first major title this weekend.
Glowacki has been out since a controversial 3rd round knockout loss to Mairis Briedis, ending his second WBO title reign in their June 2019 World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) tournament. The poorly officiated contest was grounds for two official appeals from Glowacki’s team, the second attempt enough to secure an immediate shot at his old belt.
Glowacki remains best known for his off-the-canvas 11th round knockout of long-reigning champ Marco Huck to begin his first reign in Aug. 2015. The stay lasted 13 months before dropping a 12-round unanimous decision to Oleksandr Usyk in Sept. 2018. More than two years later came a 12-round win over Maksim Vlasov to claim the interim WBO belt which was upgraded to the real thing before running into Breidis in his last fight nearly two years ago.
The WBO cruiserweight title became available after Briedis failed to comply with the sanctioning body’s order for an immediate rematch with Glowacki.
Below are the weights for the rest of the card.
Joe Cordina (11-0, 7KOs), Cardiff, 132.4 pounds vs. Faroukh Kourbanov (17-2, 3KOs), Dison, Belgium, 130.5 pounds—10 rounds, lightweight
Anthony Fowler (13-1, 10KOs), 153.8 pounds vs. Jorge Fortea (21-2-1, 7KOs), Sueca, Spain 152 pounds—10 rounds, junior middleweight
Ellie Scotney (1-0, 0KO), London, 122 pounds vs. Mailys Gangloff (4-1, 1KO), Aix-les Bains, France, 116.8 pounds—6 rounds, featherweight
Chris Billam-Smith (11-1, 10KOs), Bournemouth, 199 pounds, vs. Vasil Ducar (9-3-1, 8KOs), Brno, Czech Republic, 198.5 pounds—10 rounds, cruiserweight
Ramla Ali (1-0, 0KOs), London, 126.4 pounds vs. Bec Connolly (3-8, 0KOs), Swindon, England 126.3 pounds—6 rounds, featherweight
Bradley Rea (9-0, 3KOs), Stratford, England, 159 pounds, vs. Lee Cutler (7-0, 4KOs), Bournemouth, England, 158.3 pounds—8 rounds, middleweight
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox