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Lawrence Okolie Retains WBO Cruiserweight Title after 13 Months Out of the Ring

Lawrence Okolie Retains WBO Cruiserweight Title after 13 Months Out of the Ring

After 13 months of absence from the ring, Lawrence Okolie drew a line under a turbulent period of his career by defending his WBO cruiserweight title against David Light. Despite Okolie's relocation to Dubai and then to America to work with trainer Sugar Hill Steward, Light was given almost no chance of securing a second consecutive upset following his victory over Brandon Glandon in December.

In the end, Okolie's workmanlike performance proved too much for Light, who never got close to the champion throughout the fight. While the judges' scores flattered Light somewhat, with Michael Alexander giving the bout to Okolie 116-112, Deon Dwarte scoring it 117-110, and Jean Gauthier's 119-108 closest to the money, Okolie's point deduction for holding in the 11th made the fight closer on paper than it was in reality.

Reflecting on his performance, Okolie admitted that he felt rusty but was happy to have shaken it off. "He was very tough," Okolie said. "I always believe between 7-9 are my rounds to get people out of there, and that was when I was starting to hurt him, but I couldn’t get that last shot to drop him."

When asked about his next opponent, Okolie was clear that he was willing to take on all comers, including those who might think he is "rubbish." His willingness to fight anyone is a testament to his confidence and determination to prove himself in the ring.

The fight was also significant for Okolie because it marked his first fight under the Boxxer banner after leaving his longtime promoter Eddie Hearn. Okolie won British, Commonwealth, European, and world titles with Matchroom, but he has since left and described Hearn as "vindictive" during this fight week.

Okolie's decision to leave Matchroom marks a turning point in his career, and it remains to be seen how his relationship with Boxxer will develop in the future.

Despite his long absence from the ring, Okolie's performance against Light was by-and-large the Okolie of old: heavy-handed and dangerous, but often struggling to find his range. Light did little to make an impression on Okolie, but he did well to stay out of any real trouble.

In the end, Okolie's victory was hard-fought, but it was well-deserved. With unification options and even a move up to heavyweight on the horizon, Okolie's win over Light marks a new chapter in his career, and fans will undoubtedly be eagerly awaiting his next bout.


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