Boxing: Contrasting wins for Martin J. Ward and Lawrence Okolie in Manchester
- Credit: LAWRENCE LUSTIG
Both former Repton amateurs triumphant, but at two ends of the scale
Martin J. Ward battled through twelve tough rounds to keep his British super lightweight title while Lawrence Okolie blasted a debut win in just 20 seconds.
They were the contrasting victories for the former Repton BC amateurs on Eddie Hearn’s WBA world lightweight title promotion at the Manchester Arena on Saturday.
Ward came back strongly following a slow start to outpoint old rival Maxi Hughes after stopping and drawing with the Leeds boxer in two earlier clashes.
He was pushed in the early rounds by the tough Yorkshire southpaw, but took full control after the halfway mark, punishing his tiring rival in the ninth round.
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The ringside judges were unanimous that Ward had kept his British title and the WBC international belt by margins of 116-112, 118-111, and 116-113.
“I am pleased I got the job done, now I want another win to get the Lonsdale belt then step up for some bigger titles,” said the 25-year-old, who is now trained by east Londoner Tony Sims at Brentwood’s Matchroom gym.
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Meanwhile, Olympian Okolie is hungry for more cruiserweight action after flattening Hammersmith rival Geoffrey Cave in quick time.
He had been kept waiting in the Arena dressing room for his delayed fight, but wasted no time with preliminary sparring before landing the powerful rights to send his rival crashing.
Cave collapsed unconscious on the canvas, with referee Victor Loughlin not bothering to take up a count as Okolie celebrated his quick time triumph.
“In the pros, sometimes you don’t have a scheduled time so you have to stay warm and get ready to be switched on,”said Okolie.
“I managed to keep my focus and not get overawed by the situation, that’s important to me. It’s not just go in and fight, there’s so much more to boxing, and I need to learn about all of it.
“I just relaxed and caught him with a right hand, then I threw another right and ended it,” said Okolie, who is set for his next bout on another world title bill in Scotland next month.