Results / Photos: Lawrence Okolie in cruise control, retains world title

03/26/2023 - By Boxxer - Comments

WBO Cruiserweight Champion Lawrence Okolie returned to Sky Sports to retain his World Championship in a confident unanimous decision victory over the previously-undefeated New Zealand champion and WBO #1 contender David Light at the AO Arena, Manchester.

Despite having been out of the ring for over a year, Okolie dominated the fight with scorecards of: 119-108, 117-110, and 116-112, showing class and skill under his new trainer SugarHill Steward, a relationship looking likely to bear even richer fruit in future.

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The North London native controlled the range of the fight very successfully with a pawing jab that stopped Light from getting into position to land any damaging shots. When Light did get close, Okolie used effective short hooks from within the clinch.

While the jab did most of the work for Okolie in the early rounds, the right hand did find its mark at an increasing frequency as the fight went on. The resulting damage accumulated to the point Light was running on fumes by the end of the fight and the scorecards remained lopsided despite a point deduction for Okolie in the 11th round.

With Okolie a proven one-shot fight-finisher, Light showed he has a genuinely world-class chin by not being knocked down in the 10th and 11th rounds, but he could do little else than try to remain standing as the fight went on.

Lawrence Okolie said to Sky Sports after the fight: “David Light was extremely tough, but there’s no excuses and we use it to get better. I hurt him in the second half of the fight, and he was dancing round the ring away from me, but he had strong defenses and was able to survive. I’ll fight anyone, if you think you’re good enough to beat me, meet me in the ring and let’s fight.”

Britain is teeming with cruiserweight talent in the form of fighters like Richard Riakporhe and Chris Billam-Smith, but Lawrence Okolie has the right to claim to be at the very top of the pile, having made multiple defenses of his world championship against top opposition, and looking set to keep getting better after ending his period of inactivity and finding a new world-class trainer.

Who of the exciting Brits in the division will end up on top in the end is still to be seen, but it is undeniable Lawrence Okolie is right at the centre of a golden era of British boxing at 200lbs, and has huge fights with BOXXER coming for him very soon.

Televised Card Results:

Lawrence Okolie def. David Light – UD (119-109, 117-110, 116-112)

Frazer Clarke def. Bogdan Dinu – RTD Rd 2 (3:00)

Michael Gomez Jr def. Levi Giles – SD (97-93, 97-94, 95-96)

Karriss Artingstall def. Linzi Buczynski – PTS (60-54)

Callum Simpson def. Celso Neves – KO Rd 3 (1:36)

Full Undercard Results

Frazer Clarke def. Bogdan Dinu – RTD Rd 2 (3:00)

Olympic bronze medalist and top domestic heavyweight, Frazer Clarke, took the fifth stoppage of his six-fight career, forcing an opponent that has never quit before in Bogdan Dinu to end the fight on his stool with broken ribs, despite Clarke getting cut from a clash of heads.

Clarke switched up his offense effectively to the head and the body throughout the two rounds of the fight, and counter-punched well when Dinu tried to clinch and make the fight ugly.

Frazer Clarke has again staked himself at the top of the British Heavyweight scene, and will be hungry to have big fights against top opposition in the next 12 months.

Frazer Clarke said to Sky Sports after the fight: “Bogdan Dinu saved the show, so respect to him and his family. I knew I’d hurt him to the body a few times in the fight, but I rushed in and didn’t give myself the space to hit him on the other side, and at points I was throwing shots from too far out. I’m always improving and I hope I can get out again soon.”

Ben Shalom, BOXXER CEO & founder, said: “Frazer Clarke is in the best physical shape of his career so far. I think he’s really enjoying himself right now and he’s going from strength to strength. We’re aiming for the British title by the end of the year.”

Michael Gomez Jr def. Levi Giles – SD (97-93, 97-94, 95-96)

Son of a boxing legend, Michael Gomez Jr can now call himself a champion in his own right after winning a razor-tight, action-packed fight for the English Super Featherweight Championship.

Gomez Jr never stopped coming forward for the whole 30 minutes of action, showing impeccable fitness to keep a pace up that won him the fight. Gomez Jr had to come through adversity to take victory, with Giles dominating the start of the fight, showing his grit and determination to win.

Giles has significant success by targeting Gomez Jr’s body with jabs in the first half of the fight especially, forcing Gomez Jr to back-up and reset without Giles having to take any damage.

As the fight went on, Gomez Jr was able to close the distance more often and have the success that his more front-foot, close-brawling style can bring. Giles remained the neater fighter, but Gomez Jr was able to find the target more often.

Both men will have gained fans and improved as boxers from tonight’s 10 round war, and both will come back again much stronger in future.

Michael Gomez Jr said to Sky Sports after the fight: “I was confident I’d done enough to win the fight. There’s no way I lost more than four rounds. He deserves a rematch though, hopefully down the line we can do it again for a bigger title.”

Levi Giles said to Sky Sports after the fight: “It’s a learning curve. I thought I did enough to win the fight, but we learn from these experiences and we’ll come again strong in future.”

Karriss Artingstall def. Linzi Buczynski – PTS (60-55)

Tokyo 2020 Olympic medalist and fast-moving professional prospect, Karriss Artingstall, gave a confident, intelligent performance to move to 3-0 as a professional and dominate a talented opponent in Linzi Buczynski.

Artingstall was happy to stand in her opponent’s range, making her miss and making her pay, or even being willing to take a few shots to give a few back, backing her boxing intelligence and punch power to be able to do more damage than she would take.

Artingstall looks supremely confident as a professional, and gained invaluable experience in this fight, she looks set to climb through the ranks quickly in the fast-moving world of women’s boxing, and no-one has been able to slow her down in her professional career so far.

Karriss Artingstall said to Sky Sports after the fight: “I had a great camp, I think I could have easily done a few more rounds. My opponent gave me a lot to think about, I didn’t have it all my own way, so it’s a good bout to have under my belt for the future.”

Callum Simpson def. Celso Neves – KO Rd 3 (1:36)

Barnsley’s new superstar, Callum Simpson, made a sensational Sky Sports debut with a cold-blooded knockout in the third round. Simpson came close to a stoppage victory in the first two minutes of the fight, sending Celso Neves to the canvas with a powerful right hand.

Neves was able to beat the referee’s count and boxed smartly to survive the rest of the first two rounds.

Simpson threw an inch-perfect right hook, just a fraction of a second faster than Neves threw an identical one, around half way through the third round that clattered into Neves’s jaw and collapsed him onto the floor of the ring, with the referee deeming him unable to continue despite stumbling to his feet before the count of 10.

Callum Simpson showed he deserves the hype surrounding him on his BOXXER debut, earning the ninth knockout of his undefeated 11 fight career, and catching a lot of eyes who may have never seen him fight before tonight, but will make sure never to miss any of his fights from now on.

Callum Simpson said to Sky Sports after the fight: “I’ve been working towards this since I was nine, since my dad brought me into a boxing gym at age nine. I wanted the stoppage in the first round, but I’m happy to have got it. I want to be fighting for titles by the end of the year.”

Ben Shalom, BOXXER CEO & Founder, said: “We’ve been quietly excited about this man for a long time. He’s the sleeping giant of British boxing. He’s already operating at a very high level and now we want to go all the way with him.”

Rhys Edwards def. Brian Phillips – PTS (60-55)

Rhys Edwards took a huge step towards following in the footsteps of his World Champion stablemate Joe Cordina by handily winning an evenly-matched fight against Brian Phillips that many thought could be a serious challenge for the Welshman.

Edwards managed the range of the fight with veteran-like skill, making sure that Phillips’s high output was totally unable to do any damage to him, while Edwards could move into range, land powerful shots, and move back out again.

Edwards is now 14-0 as a professional, and gained a huge amount of fight-experience from these six rounds. He looks set for massive fights from now on in his career, and to keep moving up to the top of the boxing world.

Aaron McKenna def. Jordan Grant – PTS (60-54)

Ireland’s impressive 23-year-old prospect at 147lbs, Aaron McKenna, moved to 16-0 as a professional in dazzling fashion, smashing a tough opponent in Jordan Grant in a fight where McKenna came within moments of a stoppage on multiple occasions.

Grant showed tremendous grit to see the final bell under a constant barrage from McKenna, who didn’t drop from his rapid pace of output for the whole six rounds of the fight.

Grant even found a few opportunities to fire back while facing McKenna’s whirlwind, occasionally landing shots that kept McKenna on his toes, but the fight’s overall direction is shown by McKenna’s perfect showing on the referee’s scorecard.

Shakiel Thompson def. Robert Talarek – PTS (59-54)

Sheffield’s future superstar ‘Dr Steel’ Shakiel Thompson battered a 47-fight-veteran in Robert Talarek from pillar to post for six rounds in the 10th victory of his undefeated career.

Somehow Talarek refused to be stopped despite the 18 minutes of punishment, with Thompson in the sixth round especially landing a number of brutal straight right hands that would have knocked out almost any other opponent.

Thompson’s dominance was unaffected by a point being taken away from him in the final round, taking a clean sweep on the card otherwise.

Harvey Lambert def. Casey Brown – PTS (40-37)

Exciting 6’3” Super Welterweight prospect Harvey Lambert cruised to another victory in only the second fight of his professional career, consistently landing the better punches and doing the better work against a vastly more experienced opponent in Casey Brown.

Lambert looked calm and collected across the four rounds of the fight, failing to lose a single one of them on the referee’s scorecard.

Full Card Results:

Lawrence Okolie def. David Light – UD (119-108, 117-110, 116-112)

Frazer Clarke def. Bogdan Dinu – RTD Rd 2 (3:00)

Michael Gomez Jr def. Levi Giles – SD (97-93, 97-94, 95-96)

Karriss Artingstall def. Linzi Buczynski – PTS (60-54)

Callum Simpson def. Celso Neves – KO Rd 3 (1:36)

Rhys Edwards def. Brian Phillips – PTS (60-55)

Aaron McKenna def. Jordan Grant – PTS (60-54)

Shakiel Thompson def. Robert Talarek – PTS (59-54)

Harvey Lambert def. Casey Brown – PTS (40-37)