By Jack Tiernan: One week after sparring with Anthony Joshua, WBO cruiserweight champion Lawrence Okolie has decided to move up to heavyweight for his next fight.
The conclusion one can draw from this news is that the rumors of the 6’5″ Okolie (17-0, 14 KOs) getting the better of Joshua during their sparring session are true.
It would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall during the Joshua-Okolie sparring session to see what happened. If it’s true that Okolie handed Joshua a thrashing, AJ’s confidence has got to be at an all-time low going into his April rematch with IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk.
With Okolie’s WBO title, he can petition to the World Boxing Organization to have them make him mandatory for WBO heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk’s heavyweight title.
If Okolie can become mandatory to Usyk, he’ll be in a position to challenge for a world title in 2023 or 2024.
Okolie would need to wait in line behind the other mandatory challengers from the other sanctioning bodies before being given a title shot.
The money that Okolie will get fighting whoever emerges as the WBO heavyweight champion after 2022 will be HUGE. Okolie won’t make the kind of money at cruiserweight, even as the WBO champion.
It’s not a popular enough division for Okolie to become wealthy on the level of Joshua, Tyson Fury, or even the contenders like Dillian Whyte.
On social media, Okolie revealed his plans for him to go up to heavyweight. He isn’t saying if he’ll vacate his WBO cruiserweight title, but it would make sense for him to do so.
For Okolie to gain maximum success at heavyweight, he’s got to stay in the division, gain more weight and focus on training with bigger fighters. Bouncing back and forth between cruiserweight and heavyweight would be a bad idea for him.
Okolie, 29, has the size, power, and ability to capture world titles at heavyweight. We just saw former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk defeat Joshua last September, and Okolie is much bigger and more powerful than him.
I think I will dabble with a HEAVYWEIGHT fight next 🤛🏿
— Lawrence Okolie (NEW MONEY FREESTLYE OUT NOW) (@Lawrence_tko) January 5, 2022
In the workout clip of Okolie and Joshua in Dubai, Anthony was moving around the ring while being stalked by Lawrence. You could tell that from watching the clip that Okolie was lining Joshua up for a right-hand bomb.
The 2016 Olympian Okolie picked up the WBO cruiserweight title last March, destroying former champion Krzysztof Glowacki by a sixth round knockout. In Okolie’s first defense of his WBO title, he destroyed previously unbeaten Dilan Prasovic in three rounds.
Interestingly, Canelo Alvarez has chosen not to target Okolie for his WBO cruiserweight title. It’s fair to say that Canelo wants no part of mixing it up with a fighter with Okolie’s size, reach, and punching power.