WBO cruiserweight champion Lawrence Okolie (18-0, 14 KOs) retained his title with a 12 round unanimous decision win over challenger Michal Cieslak (21-2, 15 KOs) on Sunday night at the O2 Arena in London, England.
Okolie dropped Cieslak in the fifth round after nailing him with a right hand on the left side of his head. It proved to be difficult for Okolie to land his big right-hand shots due to the smothering that Cieslak did.
The scores were 116-111, 115-112, and 117-110.
“He looks like a clown, and I’ll show him that,” said Okolie said about Mairis Briedis after the fight.
Undercard results of tonight’s action on the Okolie vs. Cieslak card below.
In a shocking turnaround, Jordan Gill (27-1-1, 8 KOs) rallied to score a highlight-reel knockout over EBU featherweight champion Karim Guerfi (30-6, 9 KOs) in the ninth round. Guerfi was dominating the hapless Gill, dropping him in the seventh and appeared to have him ready to be stopped. However, in the ninth, Guerfi got careless was, and was nailed by a perfect right hand counter from Gill that knocked him out. The time of the stoppage was at 2:59 of the ninth. Gill took a ton of punishment, and it was impressive that he was able to stick around long enough to land a peach of a right hand. At the end of the fight, Gill’s face was badly swollen and he looked in bad shape despite getting the victory. It would be a good idea for Gill to take a long, long rest after this one.
Middleweight Anthony ‘The Machine’ Fowler (16-2, 12 KOs) labored to a 10 round unanimous decision over Lukasz Maciec (27-4-1, 5 KOs). The scores were 99-93, 99-92 and 99-91 for the 32-year-old Fowler. The Polish fighter Maciec landed his right hand at will, but he didn’t possess the power to hurt Fowler. It was a good thing for Fowler because he likely would have been stopped. Fowler was coming off an eighth round knockout loss against Liam Smith last October. In contrast to the light hitting Maciec, Liam had power in his shots and dropped Fowler in the fifth and eighth round in that fight. Fowler is going to need to improve on defense if he wants to take his career to the next level.
Heavyweight Fabio Wardley (13-0, 12 KOs) stopped journeyman Daniel Martz (20-10-1, 17 KOs) by a second round knockout in a scheduled 10 round fight. In the second round, the 6’5″ Wardley dropped Martz twice with huge clubbing shots in close. The referee then waived it off after the second knockdown. The time of the stoppage was at 1:30 of the second. After the fight, Wardley said that he wants to go after the British heavyweight title next, and get some rounds in. The five-year pro Wardley needs to step up against world-level opposition because he’s spinning his wheels and not progressing with the fodder that his promoters are feeding him. Wardley looks capable of beating contenders at this stage in his career, and it would be a shame if he wastes his prime fighting journeyman fighters.
Lightweight prospect Campbell Hatton (6-0, 2 KOs) picked up a rare knockout tonight in stopping journeyman Joe Ducker (9-9-2, 2 KOs) in the sixth round. With Campbell’s famous father Ricky Hatton watching from the crowd, he unloaded on the tough 36-year-old Ducker in the sixth round to get the knockout in the final round. Referee Chas Coakley halted the fight at 2:23 of the round. All in all, it was an excellent performance from the 21-year-old Campell Hatton, showing glimpses of the form of his dad Ricky Hatton during his successful career. While the power isn’t quite the same for Campbell, he showed improvement in that area from his past fights. For him to get to the next level, he’ll need to get a little more pop in his shots, though, than what he showed tonight because he’s still not hitting hard enough to throw him in with one of the contenders at 135.
Undefeated fringe heavyweight contender Demsey McKean (21-0, 13 KOs) stayed unbeaten with an impressive eight round round points decision victory over journeyman Ariel Esteban Bracamonte (11-7, 6 KOs). The score by referee Lee Every was 80-72. The 6’6″ southpaw McKean unloaded on Bracamonte with everything in his arsenal, but he stood up to the withering fire to see the final bell.
2020 Olympic cruiserweight prospect Cheavon Clarke (1-0, 1 KOs) defeated journeyman Toni Visic (20-30-2, 5 KOs) by a second round knockout in his pro debut. The 31-year-old Clarke Visic down in the first, land put him down for the second and final time in round two. The contest was halted at 2:01 of the second.
Light heavyweight prospect John Hedges (5-0, 1 KO) scored a fourth round knockout victory over Aleksander Nagolski (2-2, 1 KO). The time of the stoppage was at 0:38 of round four.
“It’s a positive thing that we’ll get a chance to see each other in real life, and I won’t let it distract me before the fight,” said Okolie to iFL TV about IBF cruiserweight champion Mairis Briedis attending his fight tonight at the O2.
“He’ll still a good fighter. It doesn’t go away because he’s doing crazy stuff,” Okolie said, perhaps referring to the tattoo that Briedis got on his leg of Jake Paul.
“If me and him are going to fight, it’s still a tough fight, and I’ve got to respect him as a fighter and not so much about a clout-chaser.
“This is a serious opponent, he’s coming to win and he has the whole world to gain if he beats me,” said Okolie on his defense against Cieslak tonight.
“I’ll handle him in any fashion I handle him, and it’ll be good for me to push into a unification. After I deal with this fight, I’ll be looking for unifications, so one step at a time.
“I understand that a lot of people don’t understand what I’m doing, including other boxers,” said Okolie in addressing the opinion that and have of him being an awkward fighter.
“Until people come and spar me and ‘Oh, there’s some method to the madness.’ There was a reason why I was so inexperienced and I got to the Olympics.
“I don’t like to use inexperience as an excuse, but I managed to get to the Olympics and I managed to win a world title in this time period. I think it’s down to some of the madness that I’m able to do while I’m boxing.
“It’s mentally as well with me and my opponents. It’s hard if you’re not in there with me to understand. I’m quite good at reading the body language, the breathing and the pace of the fight, controlling what’s going on,” said Okolie.
Undefeated WBO cruiserweight champion Lawrence Okolie (17-0, 14 KO) will be making his second defense of his title tonight against #2 ranked Michal Cieslak (21-1, 15 KO) in the main event LIVE on DAZN at the O2 Arena in London, England
The 2016 Olympian Okolie needs a victory tonight over the tough Polish fighter Cieslak to keep him on his path to face IBF cruiserweight champion Mairis Briedis in a unification match.