Lawrence Okolie stops former champion Krzysztof Glowacki to capture the vacant WBO title at Wembley Arena
Perhaps the only thing more impressive than Lawrence Okolie challenging for a world title in only his 16th professional contest is that it was scheduled to be his 15th. The 6ft 5in Olympian, who was once obese and took up boxing relatively late in life, captured British, Commonwealth and European belts in an accelerated timeframe, securing a mandatory shot at the vacant WBO strap opposite veteran Polish southpaw Krzysztof Glowacki, a former two-time holder of the same championship.
They were first due to meet in December, but Glowacki fell victim to Covid-19 and Okolie summarily dismissed overmatched substitute opponent Nikodem Jezewski. It meant by the time the pair entered the ring at Wembley Arena to headline Matchroom’s Sky Sports/DAZN show tonight, Glowacki had not been out of action for 21 months.
Unbeaten Okolie, boasting a range commensurate to his height, has often faced criticism for spoiling and not being the most entertaining fighter but is awkward and can punch very hard with the right hand. The Hackney man has also improved both technically and tactically since linking up with trainer Shane McGuigan; this was their fourth fight together.
As for durable, powerful Glowacki, his only defeats had come to Oleksandr Usyk on points and, last time out, a highly controversial stoppage reverse against Mairis Briedis in the World Boxing Super Series semi-finals. Krzysztof had been stunned with an elbow strike, given no time to recover and was still feeling the effects when halted. The brawler had a point to prove, plus was only the third left-handed adversary for Okolie as a pro, and one of the others was a debut foe who lasted 20 seconds. Despite that, Okolie dominated every minute of every round until stopping Glowacki in round six.
Okolie began with a busy, stiff jab and fast footwork preventing Glowacki from setting himself or getting too ambitious. The former title-holder maintained pressure with his feet but threw sparingly, although his British opponent appeared content to soften up Glowacki from range. Three rounds in, Okolie looked increasingly comfortable, peppering Glowacki as he approached and occasionally moving on to the front foot. In the fourth, Okolie further imposed himself, cutting the right eye of Glowacki and adding more weight to his rights.
Glowacki needed to make an impression but continued to show insufficient urgency in the fifth. Perhaps wary of Okolie’s power, the Pole could not win from the outside. Round six was proceeding in a similar manner until Okolie, on the back foot, followed a probing jab with a crunching right hand as Glowacki dipped forward and into the shot. Glowacki fell heavily and, while he made it to his feet in time, was still shaky and rightly ruled out.
The undercard saw wins for Chris Billam-Smith, Anthony Fowler (with a statement stoppage of world-rated Jorge Fortea), Joe Cordina, Ramla Ali, Brad Rea and Ellie Scotney.