By Terence Dooley
Hackney-based Lawrence Okolie (9-0, 7 KOs) meets British cruiserweight champion Matty Askin at Wembley Stadium live on Sky Sports Box Office on Saturday night as part of the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight title defence against Alexander Povetkin.
Aand the 25-year-old hopes to steal the show from his great friend and mentor by netting the Lonsdale title with an impressive performance.
Okolie hopes to follow in Joshua’s world title winning footsteps and has already earned the WBA Continental and Commonwealth titles, but he believes that a win over Askin would help propel him further up the ratings and that if he continues to progess at this pace a world title tilt will become inevitable.
“My ultimate goal is to be the unified world champion and I want to go down the traditional route: clean up domestically and prove to myself and the fans that I belong at that level,” he said when speaking to the Islington Gazette.
“Matty is a very experienced fighter who is ranked in the top 10 in the world. I want to make my way towards the world scene and so I need to be able to beat people like Matty to do that. I've won the Commonwealth title in my first two years and I want to keep that trajectory going by winning the British title and hopefully winning a world title before the next Olympics.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn certainly agrees with this assessment, he believes that the Askin fight is an even money fight, and one that will give Okolie more to think about and a lot to do if he is to emerge victorius. “Lawrence is continuously surprising me with his desire to step up, but this is by far his biggest jump,” said Hearn.
He added: “I rate Askin very highly and he has shown much improvement in his last couple of fights. This is another genuine 50-50 fight for the undercard.”
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