Jack Massey has questioned Lawrence Okolie’s hunger ahead of their British and Commonwealth Cruiserweight title showdown at Manchester Arena on Saturday July 6, shown live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US.
Okolie had previously admitted that his heart was telling him to take a leap up in levels to fight WBA World Champion Dennis Lebedev in his next fight, but talk of the shock World title fight fell away after the Hackney man teamed up with new trainer Shane McGuigan.
Massey has been vocal in his pursuit of 2016 Olympian Okolie and the undefeated 26-year-old from Chapel-en-le-Frith is promising to shine after finally landing his first major title opportunity on the big stage. A win over Okolie would propel him to the top of the domestic Cruiserweight pile and ‘One Smack’ believes his title shot has come at the perfect time.
“We’ve wanted this fight for a long time so when I got my opportunity, I grabbed it with both f****** hands,” said Massey. “I’ve seen a few people knocking me for getting a shot at the belts but it’s time to let everyone know who I am. If they don’t know who I am now, then they definitely will after this fight. This is my time to shine.
“I’ve been in the gym since my last fight in March so we’ve had great preparation for this. I’m always in the gym grinding away, you’ve got to be ready for these opportunities when they present themselves. You never know what’s going to come up and I’ve got my chance on July 6.
“There’s no doubt that he’s had better opposition than me. This is a big step up for me but I’m ready for it. We’ve had a bit of back and forth on social media but it’s just banter isn’t it. He says that I’ve been giving him sh*t on Twitter but it’s important to remember he was the first one to do it. He was calling me out after his third fight.
“I’ve got it all to gain here. To me, it seems like he doesn’t like getting hit and he won’t like it when I connect with him. I don’t think he’s ever has been hit as hard as I hit in a fight. They’re looking past me a bit definitely. I’m hungry and I’m on my way up. He’s had the big fights and got a bit of money in his pocket and I’m still driving a Fiat Punto about. He had his eyes on other fights but I’m hungry for this and I’m ready to go.
“I’ve only gone eight rounds once and that’s it. I’ve done six rounds a few times. I don’t think it’s going to go the distance though. I’m looking to put it on him. I think I’ll be too explosive for him when I let them hands go. There’ll be punches in bunches and I’ll let them hands fly. I’m going to be smart about it and take my time to find those little pockets and openings. As the rounds go by I’ll get on the inside and work him.”
Dalton Smith will take part in his second professional contest at Manchester Arena on Saturday July 6, shown live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US
Sheffield’s most successful amateur of all time made a winning start to life in the paid code with a classy points win over Croatia’s Luka Leskovic at the Motorpoint Arena Nottingham on May 10.
Smith offered a taste of his huge potential as he dominated his opponent from the opening bell, setting an impressive pace throughout and showcasing a wide variety of shot selection as he cruised to a comfortable 40-36 decision.
“My debut went just as good as I could have imagined,” said Smith. “I had a long training camp and a lot of media stuff around it and it was down to me to perform on the night. I believe I went out there and put on a good performance. My pro debut is in the bag and those nerves and pressure around it will be gone. I think my second fight will be a lot more enjoyable and I’m looking forward to it.
“I’ve got full confidence in my abilities. I’ve boxed every style out there in the amateurs, so I knew if I stuck to my game plan and stayed calm then I’d perform. Obviously my debut was big, but fighting at Manchester Arena will be another box ticked for me. It’s one of the biggest indoor arenas there is and there’s some big names on the card. There’s a lot of history in that arena and I’ll create a bit of my own on July 6.”
Crolla On Lightweight Protégé Dylan Evans: I See A Lot Of Him In Me
Anthony Crolla Lightweight protégé Dylan Evans has landed a dream slot on the bumper July 6 Sky Sports and DAZN televised Manchester Arena card that features Lawrence Okolie vs. Jack Massey, Scott Fitzgerald vs. Brian Rose, Felix Cash vs. Jack Cullen and more.
Fighting out of the Fox ABC in Manchester’s Newton Heath, 22-year-old Evans made a wining start to life in the professional ranks in 2017, outpointing Joe Beeden at the Oldham Leisure Centre before being forced to curb his boxing dream to focus on work commitments.
Determined to relaunch his short-lived pro boxing career, Evans turned to former WBA Lightweight ruler ‘Million Dollar’ Crolla for advice and guidance. Crolla took Evans under his wing, beginning a role as his trainer/manager, and the Mancunian partnership got off to a winning start as Evans earned a comfortable decision over Michael Horabin last month.
“His experience is second to none and he’s a massive inspiration to me as well,” said Evans. “He’s someone that I’ve always looked up to. He was always helping train the lads in our amateur gym after his sessions. Hopefully I can pick up from all of his experience, his experience at boxing at Manchester Arena multiple times is second to none.
“He’s Manchester’s main boxer at the minute and he’s been through everything in his career. He’s had a rollercoaster career, he’s experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. It’s amazing to have him in my corner. He’s good mates with my brother-in-law and we’ve known each other for the past ten years, we go way back.
“I was gobsmacked when I found out that I’d be boxing at Manchester Arena. It’s not something that I was expecting. It’s a dream come true to be fighting at the arena I used to attend as a kid. All Manchester fighters want to box at the arena at some point in their career. To box there so early on in mine is going to give me massive experience moving forward and massive motivation to one day top a bill in Manchester.”
Crolla won the WBA Lightweight World title with a fifth-round knockout of Columbia’s Darleys Perez on a hugely emotional evening at Manchester Arena in November 2015 and successfully defended his title with a fifth-round KO of Ismael Barroso at the same venue the following year.
The North West hero returns to the scene of his greatest triumph for the first time as a trainer next month and is already backing his Moston protégé to make his own mark in Manchester.
“I was probably the first person to take him on the pads when he was a kid,” said Crolla. “He’s a good lad. He trains as hard as anyone. At first, I was just looking to help him out a little bit, but you can’t help but get involved way more than you thought you would. I love the lad’s attitude.
“I see a lot of him in me – a young lad who wants to work hard and get the best out of what he’s got. I think there is quite a lot of similarities in us both. He’s only 22, he’s got so much to learn but he’s learning all the time and he’s the kind of kid that picks things up fast.
“He was over in LA training with us and he’s been getting great sparring with Stephen Smith, that can only help him. He’s a kid who’s not had much experience, but he does absolutely everything asked of him. He’s super fit, he lives the life. I’m excited to see how far we can go. We’re going to take it one fight at a time. He’s absolutely made up to be on the card at Manchester Arena.
“I’m not retired yet but it will be very proud moment for me to go to the arena as a trainer on the night, as much as I’d love to be fighting. It’s going to be little bit different to what I’m used to. I think it will be a little bit surreal, but I’d like to think that I can offer him as good advice about fighting at Manchester Arena than almost anyone.
“It’s something that I’m really looking forward to. I hope to be back there as a fighter one more time before I finish, but for the meantime it will be a very proud moment for me to go there as a trainer for the first time. It’s an arena that holds some special memories for me and I hope Dylan can create some of his own, starting on July 6.”