Lawrence Okolie (born 16 December 1992) is a British professional boxer. He has held the European cruiserweight title since October 2019. He previously held the Commonwealth cruiserweight title twice between 2018 and 2019, and the British cruiserweight title in 2019. Okolie is known for his long reach and exceptional punching power. As of December 2019, he is ranked as the world's third best active cruiserweight by BoxRec, seventh by The Ring magazine and eighth by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.
Okolie is from Hackney, London and attended Stoke Newington School. He was selected for Team GB in 2016 Rio Olympics. Fighting as a heavyweight, he beat Igor Pawel Jakubowski from Poland on points in the Preliminary Round of the Rio Olympics. He then lost to Erislandy Savon of Cuba.
On 18 January 2017, Okolie announced his decision to turn professional, signing with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Sport to compete in the cruiserweight division.
His first professional fight took place at the Manchester Arena in Manchester on 25 March 2017. It was on the undercard for the Jorge Linares vs. Anthony Crolla lightweight world championship fight. His opponent was 33 year old Geoffrey Cave, who had a record of no wins and two losses. The fight lasted 20 seconds and ended after Okolie landed two right hooks to the head of Cave. The referee stopped the fight immediately. His next bout took place in Glasgow, Scotland at The SSE Hydro on 15 April as part of the undercard for the world Ricky Burns vs. Julius Indongo super lightweight unification fight. He fought 35 year old journeyman Lukasz Rusiewicz. Okolie knocked Rusiewicz down twice in round one en route to a first-round stoppage. The time of stoppage was 2 minutes and 36 seconds.
Okolie was scheduled to fight on the undercard of the mega heavyweight fight Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko on 29 April at the Wembley Stadium in London. On 25 April, it was announced that he would fight Russell Henshaw (7–4, 2 KOs), who he was supposed to fight on his debut. On the night, Okolie tweeted that he would no longer be fighting on the undercard. The reason for this was due to Wembley council having a curfew of 11:00pm and the main event was due to start at 10:00pm. The other fights on the undercard went longer than expected.
Okolie fought on the Kell Brook vs. Errol Spence Jr. IBF world title undercard at Bramall Lane in Sheffield on 27 May, defeating Rudolf Helesic in the first round. Helesic was knocked down twice prior to the stoppage. On 1 July, Okolie recorded his fourth straight first-round stoppage win against Russell Henshaw. The fight was stopped after 2 minutes and 10 seconds into the round.
It was announced that Okolie would appear on the NXTGEN card on 1 September 2017, at the York Hall in London. Other prospects on the card included Conor Benn and fellow Olympians Joshua Buatsi and Joe Cordina. Okolie went the six-round distance for the first time in his career against Blaise Mendouo. He lost one round on the referee's scorecard, winning 59–54. Okolie was also taken past the first round for the first time in his professional career. In round four, Mendouo was dropped by a big right hand. Following the win, Okolie spoke to Sky Sports about going the distance, "It was useful to go the rounds, but was tough against an awkward opponent. It was a little bit scrappy, I couldn't get the rhythm of my opponent. I knew that this guy would be a lot more difficult than some of the other cruiserweight prospects." Okolie next fought on 28 October on the Anthony Joshua vs. Carlos Takam undercard at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. His opponent was 36 year old Adam Williams. Okolie stopped Williams in the third round, extending his unbeaten record.
Okolie vs. Chamberlain
Okolie next fought on 13 December 2017, closing off his first year as a professional at the York Hall in London. His opponent was Antonio Sousa in a six-round bout. Starting off with a stiff jab, Okolie dropped Sousa twice in round one and twice in round two before the referee stepped in at 1 minute and 4 seconds. After the fight, speaking on rival Isaac Chamberlain, he said, "He and Ted Bami are two cowards! He's calling me his easiest fight, he's saying stuff online. Here's the fight in February, let's go."
On 19 December, Sky Sports confirmed Okolie would fight Chamberlain on 3 February 2018 at The O2 Arena. The fighters had been calling each other out on social media over the months before the fight was finally signed. In January 2018, the WBA sanctioned the fight for their vacant Continental cruiserweight title. In front of 8,000 fans in attendance, Okolie scored a quick knockdown in the opening round, en route to a dominant one-sided unanimous decision (UD) win to capture the vacant WBA Continental title. In round two, after being warned a number of times, Chamberlain was docked a point for continuous holding. In round six, Okolie landed a right hand to Chamberlain, forcing his glove to touch the canvas for a second knockdown. Okolie also had a point deducted in round nine. After ten rounds, the judges scorecards read 98–89, 97–89 and 96-90 in favour of Okolie. After the fight, Okolie called out Welsh boxer Craig Kennedy (16–1, 8 KOs) for a fight on the Anthony Joshua vs. Joseph Parker undercard. The card averaged 230,000 viewers on Sky Sports.
Okolie vs. Watkins
On 16 April 2018, Commonwealth cruiserweight champion Luke Watkins (13–0, 9 KOs) called out Okolie for a fight in the future. Nine days later, the Swindon Advertiser reported that Okolie's promoter, Eddie Hearn, had given the bout the green light to go ahead. On 26 April, a deal had been agreed for the fight to take place on 6 June at the York Hall in London. Okolie dropped Watkins twice on his way to a third-round stoppage victory. Referee Michael Alexander stopped the fight at 1 minute 40 seconds of the round. After the bout, Hearn stated the Commonwealth mandatory challenger, Wadi Camacho (20–7, 12 KOs), would likely be Okolie's only title defence before moving on to the British and European titles.
Okolie vs. Askin
On 12 July 2018, the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) ordered for Matty Askin (23–3–1, 15 KOs) to make a mandatory defence of his British cruiserweight title against Okolie by the end of November 2018. A purse bid was set for 8 August. On 7 August, Eddie Hearn announced the fight was confirmed and would take place on the Anthony Joshua vs. Alexander Povetkin undercard on 22 September at the Wembley Stadium in London on Sky Sports Box Office. Prior to the fight being made, Okolie vacated the Commonwealth cruiserweight title. In what was described as an 'ugly fight', Okolie defeated Askin via UD to claim the British cruiserweight title. The final scorecards read 116–110, 114–112 and 114–113 in Okolie's favour. Okolie lost a total of three points in fouls. During the middle rounds there was a lot of holding and wrestling. Okolie began using his head on the inside which resulted in him losing points.
Professional boxing record
|14 fights||14 wins||0 losses|
|14||Win||14–0||Yves Ngabu||TKO||7 (12), 2:28||26 Oct 2019||O2 Arena, London, England||Won European cruiserweight title|
|13||Win||13–0||Mariano Angel Gudino||TKO||7 (10), 2:59||20 Jul 2019||O2 Arena, London, England||Retained WBA Continental cruiserweight title|
|12||Win||12–0||Wadi Camacho||TKO||4 (12), 2:00||23 Mar 2019||Copper Box Arena, London, England||Retained British cruiserweight title;|
Won Commonwealth cruiserweight title
|11||Win||11–0||Tamas Lodi||TKO||3 (10), 1:13||2 Feb 2019||O2 Arena, London, England||Retained WBA Continental cruiserweight title|
|10||Win||10–0||Matty Askin||UD||12||22 Sep 2018||Wembley Stadium, London, England||Won British cruiserweight title|
|9||Win||9–0||Luke Watkins||TKO||3 (12), 1:40||6 Jun 2018||York Hall, London, England||Retained WBA Continental cruiserweight title;|
Won Commonwealth cruiserweight title
|8||Win||8–0||Isaac Chamberlain||UD||10||3 Feb 2018||O2 Arena, London, England||Won vacant WBA Continental cruiserweight title|
|7||Win||7–0||Antonio Sousa||TKO||2 (6), 1:04||13 Dec 2017||York Hall, London, England|
|6||Win||6–0||Adam Williams||TKO||3 (6), 2:30||28 Oct 2017||Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Wales|
|5||Win||5–0||Blaise Mendouo||PTS||6||1 Sep 2017||York Hall, London, England|
|4||Win||4–0||Russell Henshaw||TKO||1 (6), 2:10||1 July 2017||O2 Arena, London, England|
|3||Win||3–0||Rudolf Helesic||TKO||1 (4), 1:10||27 May 2017||Bramall Lane, Sheffield, England|
|2||Win||2–0||Lukasz Rusiewicz||TKO||1 (4), 2:36||15 Apr 2017||The SSE Hydro, Glasgow, Scotland|
|1||Win||1–0||Geoffrey Cave||KO||1 (4), 0:20||25 Mar 2017||Manchester Arena, Manchester, England|