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Lawrence Okolie vs. Isaac Chamberlain on Feb.3


By Scott Gilfoid: In a domestic level scrap, a fight between unbeaten cruiserweight prospects Lawrence Okolie (7-0, 6 KOs) and Isaac Chamberlain (9-0, 4 KOs) was officially announced on Tuesday for February 3 at the O2 Arena in London, UK.

There’s been a lot of talk of these 2 young cruiserweights fighting each other for a while now. They finally can settle it inside the ring.

The 25-year-old Okolie represented Great Britain in the 2016 Olypics in Rio de Janeiro, but he was quickly shown the door in getting beaten by Erislandy Savon, who clearly has Okolie’s number, as we saw in that fight.

At the pro level, Okolie looks all arms and legs, showing good power, but little else. He’s wide open on defense, and fighting style is pretty basic. Okolie is a fun fighter to watch, but he doesn’t look to have the talent to ever win a world title unless he gets lucky the way Tony Bellew did with one of the titles going vacant, and the sanctioning body letting him fight a mediocre contender rather than one of the good ones. Bellew lucked out last year when the World Boxing Council allowed him to fight the flawed Illunga Makabu rather than the arguably much more talented Mairis Briedis. If Bellew had to face Briedis, he likely would have lost. If Okolie can get the same kind of luck in the future, he could win a world title. But short of that, I don’t see him as a world championship level fighter at this point.

“I think it’s going to be a bloody, brutal fight,” said Okolie to about his February 3 match against the 23-year-old Chamberlain. “I said when I first turned professional I’m not here to mess about, I want to take risks and push on. Chamberlain has done a lot of talking and on February 3 we’ll see if he can back up his words.”

Chamberlain didn’t do much in the amateur level. He finished his amateur career with a 27-2. Chamberlain turned pro in 2015, and he’s worked as a sparring partner for WBC heavyweight champion Deontay ‘Bronze Bomber’ Wilder.

Chamberlain’s last 4 wins have come against these fighters:

• Ossie Jervier (4-4)

• Ryan Crawford (2-2-1)

• Imantas Davisaitis (5-19-1)

• Wadi Camacho (16-5)

As you can see, Chamberlain hasn’t exactly been setting the cruiserweight division on fire with the level of his opposition. We’re not talking about a fighter following in the footsteps of Oleksandr Usyk or Murat Gassiev, are we? But it’s the same case as Okolie. They’re both limited fighters without the talent that guys like Gassiev and Usyk both possess.

You can call Chamberlain and Okolie raw project type fighters. They may pan out at some point or they might not. Just from what I saw of Okolie’s recent 2nd round knockout win over Antonio Sousa on December 13, I don’t see him ever winning a world title unless he’s put in the same situation Bellew was in fighting for a vacant title against a guy that has little talent and no business being rated at the top of the division.

Fighting on the Okolie vs. Chamberlain undercard, unbeaten welterweight prospect Ted Cheesman will be facing journeyman Carson Jones in a 10 round fight.

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