Lawrence Okolie is willing to embrace his toughest test to date for his next point, to the point of potentially concede hometown advantage in the process.
The unbeaten cruiserweight from London is awaiting marching orders for a crack at former two-time titlist Krzysztof Glowacki in their World Boxing Organization (WBO)-ordered vacant title fight.
The two sides have been in talks to work out terms for such a bout, which is being eyes for late March in Chicago, Illinois. The development was confirmed by Eddie Hearn—Okolie’s promoter—during a recent interview with IFL TV.
Its placement is contingent upon finalizing the first defense of Genandiy Golovkin’s second middleweight title reign, as the 37-year old Kazakhstani boxer is due to make a mandatory title defense versus Poland’s Kamil Szeremeta, with the show to be carried on over-the-top media service, DAZN.
Previous tentative plans called for such a bout to take place in late February in Chicago.
The pairing of the two bouts would make sense for a number of reasons, including the rabid fan base among an approximate population of 1.9 million citizens of Polish descent living in the greater Chicagoland area.
It would also reduce the number of parties with which to negotiate.
Glowacki and Szeremeta are both aligned with Andrew Wasilewski’s Knockout Promotions in Poland, while Okolie is promoted by Matchroom Boxing, whose managing director Eddie Hearn inked a co-promotional deal with Golovkin, earlier this year.
Golovkin (40-1-1, 35KOs) and Szeremeta appeared on the same October show in New York City.
Szeremeta (21-0, 5KOs) was granted a stay-busy fight on the undercard of Golovkin’s middleweight title-reclaiming effort, barely outlasting Sergiy Derevyanchenko in a Fight of the Year-level war in which he claimed a close and disputed 12-round decision.
Whatever controversy came of that night is nothing compared to the road Glowacki (31-2, 19KOs) has been forced to travel in efforts to put his old title back around his waist.
The 33-year old Polish southpaw reclaimed an interim version of the WBO title following a 12-round win over Maksim Vlasov last November in Chicago.
He received an upgrade to full titlist following the divisional departure of World cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk, who is now competing at heavyweight.
Usyk also ended Glowacki’s year-long first title reign as well as his days as an unbeaten fighter with a decision win in their September 2016 title fight.
Glowacki’s second title reign was short-lived, though largely memorable on the strength of his wild knockout loss to Mairis Briedis in the semifinal round of the World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight tournament.
Briedis prevailed by 3rd round knockout in their condensed shootout this past June in his Riga, Latvia hometown, though not without a swarm of controversy.
The poorly officiated contest saw both boxers fouled, and Briedis flooring Glowacki three times—including once well after the bell sounded, to what was supposed to mark the end of the second round.
As previously reported by BoxingScene.com, an official protest was filed by Glowacki’s team, which was officially denied though with the condition that the Polish southpaw land the winner of the WBSS finals no later than 120 days upon conclusion of the tournament.
A modification to that ruling came following a successful second appeal, at which point the WBO still agreed to uphold the original verdict but change course and order Briedis-Glowacki II.
Briedis declined to entertain the fight, failing to negotiate terms or attend a purse bid hearing attached to the ordered bout as he instead opted to move forward with his still-yet-to-be-scheduled WBSS cruiserweight final versus Miami’s Yuniel Dorticos in lieu of the WBO-ordered rematch.
With the ruling came the eagerness on the part of England’s Okolie (14-0, 11KOs) to answer the call to face Glowacki as the next highest rated contender.
The 2016 Olympian for Great Britain has emerged as a perennial Top 10 contender on the strength of four knockout wins in 2019, including a 7th round knockout of Yves Ngabu, this past November in London, England.
A trip to Chicago would mean Okolie fighting outside of the United Kingdom for the first time as a pro, his last trip abroad coming in his tour in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Given his willingness to challenge for a major title in just his 15th pro fight, potentially doing so on the road further speaks to the confidence in his own abilities against the division’s elite.
“I believe in his next fight, he will win a world title,” Hearn insisted during an interview with IFL TV in dismissing critics’ disinterest to his awkward style.
“He will fight Glowacki for the world title. Give him the credit of —how many fights has he had, 14 fights? He’s going to be challenging for the world title. So give him the credit.”
Upon final announcement, the card maps out an already strong 1st quarter for DAZN including Matchroom Boxing USA-announced shows on January 30 and February 29.
EDIED FROM: boxingscene.com