Lawrence Okolie: Who can beat him at cruiserweight?  'Richard Riakporhe is the only man who could do it' |  boxing news

Lawrence Okolie stays the WBO world champion and, arguably, the hardest fighter to beat within the cruiserweight division.

The Briton returned from a layoff of greater than a 12 months, with a brand new coach at SugarHill Steward, to edge David Gentle by 12 rounds at Manchester’s AO Enviornment on Saturday evening.

It was a battle dominated by Okolie, virtually fully controlling the motion exterior of the occasional time-frame and handcuffing his opponent’s proper hook.

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Though he simply beat Gentle to retain his WBO world cruiserweight title, Okolie wasn’t too comfortable together with his efficiency resulting from ring rust.

However when he harm Gentle, Okolie didn’t ship the knockout the Manchester Enviornment crowd was clamoring for.

His coach Steward, nevertheless, is satisfied Okolie has extra to return, after all of the Londoner hasn’t even had 20 skilled fights in his profession but.

“There have been some thrilling components in there and I used to be comfortable about that,” Steward mentioned of their first battle collectively.

“I am a realist so I do not count on anybody to return and do every little thing in some unspecified time in the future. It is very laborious to do while you’ve achieved one thing your complete life after which attempt to change and every little thing. do as you want. you study to do it. It’s very totally different,” he mentioned. sky sports activities.

“I felt it was an excellent battle for Lawrence. We have been speaking and joking about it. Now he actually understands what we’re engaged on and the best way to push himself much more to get it.

The sunshine is tough and can keep on its toes

“So I believe it was a terrific studying expertise for him and I do know subsequent time might be higher. I believe this time was a greater Lawrence.”

He denied Gentle the possibility to realize sustained momentum within the battle. Okolie threw robust, lengthy punches and muscled the challenger on the within when he obtained shut.

Okolie has attributes that make him “so clumsy” to everybody he meets and Steward definitely will not let him surrender on these qualities both. “Hey,” he mentioned, “take it, use it.”

Promoter Ben Shalom additionally thinks Okolie is “miles above everybody else” at cruiserweight.

“He is so laborious to beat. He is so large, he is so robust,” mentioned BOXXER CEO sky sports activities. “He’ll be very powerful to beat. He could be the final particular person you wish to face as an opponent. I believe for me, Richard Riakporhe is the most important problem he’ll face within the heavyweight division.

“I believe Richard Riakporhe is the one man who might beat Lawrence Okolie.”

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Frazer Clarke thinks Okolie is able to face Richard Riakporhe

Shalom acknowledged towards Gentle that Okolie “did not get the assertion he would have appreciated with the knockout, however he obtained it there 3 times, I might say, when he might have knocked him out.”

Gentle, nevertheless, was beforehand undefeated and displayed some very spectacular punch resistance.

“He is extraordinarily powerful. So we have been frightened he would possibly final 12 rounds due to his power,” Shalom mentioned. “We needed to do the compulsory [defence]. We knew it will be a tricky battle. We knew he could be a tricky opponent and it may not look fairly at instances contemplating David Gentle’s resilience.”

Okolie, nevertheless, stays ready of power. “He hit him with a variety of large punches. I believe he’ll really feel like he might have jumped on him at instances and actually pressured him and obtained him out of there,” Shalom mentioned.

“However he retains his title and now the obligatory is out, he would not have to fret about it for the following 12 months and he can go straight to Richard Riakporhe or a unification.

Okolie holds Gentle together with her lengthy left hand (Photographs: Lawrence Lustig/BOXXER)

“Each battle to any extent further is an excellent battle,” he added. “Most significantly, he retained his belt in a battle he completely dominated from begin to end.”

Shalom will converse to London rival cruiserweight Riakporhe on Sunday. Riakporhe is a giant puncher who is able to battle for world honors.

Shalom mentioned: “It is both unification or Richard for Lawrence subsequent and I do know it is a battle that Richard is dying for. I believe that is the plan, that is the highway and it is thrilling as a result of Lawrence already has his obligatory, now with rust ring.

« SCS [Chris Billam-Smith] has constructed the stadium battle brilliantly, Richard Riakporhe has gone from UK degree to world degree during the last 18 months and has gotten higher and higher.

“So the gorgeous factor is that we’ve three world-level heavyweights able to win world titles and battle. So it is going to be a giant 12 months this 12 months.”

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