Boxing: Lawrence Okolie excited for Commonwealth cruiserweight bout with Luke Watkins
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Lawrence Okolie looks forward to his chance of taking the Commonwealth cruiserweight title from Swindon’s undefeated Luke Watkins at York Hall on Wednesday.
Okolie, a former Repton boxer and Olympic amateur, is now an unbeaten pro trained by Brian O’Shaughnessy at east London’s Peacock gym, but knows the fight with Watkins may prove the toughest test of his career.
“I’m very excited to be challenging for the Commonwealth title,” said Okolie. “I’ve got one belt to my name and I want to keep on collecting honours, so this is the next step.”
Okolie will have the local support at York Hall, but is aware his rival will be bring his own fan following from Wiltshire.
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“The atmosphere at York Hall will be mad, I think it will help make it a toe-to-toe war — it should make for a great night of boxing,” says Okolie.
Hard-hitting Okolie is aware that will be tested against Swindon boxer Watkins, currently unbeaten after 13 fights.
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Watkins, known as ‘The Duke’, took the Commonwealth belt with an impressive sixth round knockout win over previously undefeated east Londoner Robin Dupre at York Hall in October.
“Watkins looks good. I’ve studied him a bit recently and you have to be respectful of his unbeaten record and style. He’s had more knockouts than I’ve had fights. We’re two unbeaten fighters putting it on the line.”
Their clash tops a Matchroom bill that also includes another title duel between unbeaten rivals when hard hitting Ted Cheeseman, who has won all 13 pro contests, defends his WBA international super welterweight belt against Paul Upton, who is unbeaten is 15 fights.
The JDNXTGEN show also parades rising prospects from the stable including Kazakhstan’s Olympic gold medallist Daniyar Yeleussinov, Reece Bellotti, Felix Cash and Danny Dignum.
On Saturday at York Hall, the Noble Art show is headed by the Southern Area light heavyweight title clash between Kirk Garvey and Joel McIntyre.
Also on the bill are Adam Barker, Louis Adolphe. George Lamport and Naylor Ball.