Boxing: Lawrence Okolie turns professional after joining Matchroom
- Credit: Archant
Cruiserweight came to prominence in amateur game with superb 2016
Cruiserweight prospect Lawrence Okolie has turned professional after penning a deal to join the Matchroom stable.
The University of East London student enjoyed a meteoric rise to prominence in 2016 after a splendid start to the year saw him earn a place at the Rio Olympics.
Though he went out in the second round to Erislandy Savon of Cuba, the former Dagenham amateur had been mulling over offers to turn professional since returning from Brazil.
Now, the Hackney-based 24-year-old has agreed to join the Matchroom team and has set himself some ambitious targets in the paid ranks.
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“I want to be the best cruiserweight that Britain has seen,” said Okolie. “David Haye has done great things, so has Johnny Nelson and many others, but I want to cement my legacy, have my name go down in history and maybe follow Haye by winning the heavyweight crown too.
“I want to get some excitement going in the division, not just from the fans, but also have other cruiserweights training hard and wanting to fight me, because I want to be in great and exciting fights.
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“I want to have six to eight fights in 2017 and I’ll be looking to get six to eight knockouts - I mean business.”
Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn was delighted to welcome Okolie into the Matchroom family and believes the future is bright for the cruiserweight.
“Lawrence has all the attributes to become a star inside and outside the ring, and we will announce his debut fight next week,” said Hearn.
“These early stages are where fighters build their foundations and profile to ensure they achieve their dreams and become super stars in the sport – Lawrence has the perfect platform to do that.
“He will box eight times in his first year on the biggest shows all over the country. It’s official – Okolie’s out the cage!”