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Glowacki tests positive for COVID-19, Okolie needs new opponent for Dec.12

Anthony Joshua Kubrat Pulev

By Charles Brun: Krzysztof Glowacki is off Matchroom’s December 12th card after testing positive for COVID-19, and Eddie Hearn is speedily searching for a replacement to match against Lawrence Okolie for that date.

The two-time former WBO cruiserweight champion Glowaki (31-2, 19 KOs) and Okolie (14-0, 11 KOs) was supposed to be fighting for the vacant World Boxing Organization cruiserweight strap on the Anthony Joshua vs. Kubrat Pulev card on Sky Box Office at the O2 Arena in London, England.

Now that Glowacki, 34, is off the card, Hearn isn’t saying whether Okolie will still be fighting for the vacant WBO cruiserweight strap on December 12th.

Will Hearn match Okolie tough?

It would seem unlikely that the WBO would quickly sanction a fight between Okolie and a replacement opponent for their cruiserweight title by next week unless it was someone talented.

Anthony Joshua Kubrat Pulev

Normally when a fighter is unable to compete for a world title, the sanctioning body checks with the next available contender in their rankings to see if they’re interested.

In this case, we’re talking about a fighter only having a little over a week’s notice before battling the lanky 2016 Olympian Okolie for the WBO belt, and that’s not a good situation.

Top cruiserweight in WBO’s rankings:

  • Dilan Prasovic
  • Evgeny Tishchenko
  • Murat Gassiev
  • David Light
  • Jai Opetaia
  • Thabiso Mchunu
  • Nikolai Milacic
  • Aleksai Papin
  • Michal Cieslak
  • Artur Mann
  • Richard Riakporhe
  • Alexey Egorov
  • Juergen Uldedaj

Some of those guys would arguably be too dangerous for the 6’6″ Okolie to fight on nine days’ notice, and Hearn might not fancy the idea of watching his fighter potentially lose.

While Hearn has always liked Okolie’s chances against the aging, chinny Glowacki, he’s not been nearly as excited about matching him against any of the other top cruiserweights.

Prasovic or Tishchenko great options for Okolie

#3 WBO Dilan Prasovic and #4 Evgeny Tishchenko might have too much talent for Okolie, who is similar to Deontay Wilder with his uncoordinated fighting style. Okolie can punch, but his boxing skills are rudimentary at best.

It would be a mistake for Hearn to toss Okolie into the ring with Prasovic (14-0, 11 KOs) or the 2016 Olympian Tishchenko (8-0, 6 KOs) with little more than a week’s notice.

The type of opponent that Okolie needs on short notice would be a contender with a history of chin issues, who can’t punch, and it’s a threat to beating him.

Hearn obviously knows what he’s got in Okolie, so he’s probably not going to let him get anywhere near a solid cruiserweight with talents like Tishchenko or Prasovic.

Even with a full 10-week training camp, it would be a tough ask for Okolie to beat either of those guys. It’s not realistic.

Okolie had the perfect opponent in Glowacki for him to capture the vacant WBO cruiserweight title, being that the Polish fighter was old, chinny, and was coming off a fourth-round knockout defeat against Mairis Briedis in June 2019.

Besides those three strikes against him, Glowacki also hadn’t fought in 18 months, which was perfect for Okolie. He would have had an older, ring-rusty opponent coming off of a knockout loss.

Now that great set-up is gone, and Okolie may be forced to fight someone with talent if Hearn replaces Glowacki with Tishchenko or Prasovic.

Joshua-Pulev card needs Okolie

Hearn can’t just pull Okolie from the December 12th card, considering there are zero compelling match-ups on the undercard. Without Okolie, it’s a barren ghost town of fights that the paying UK boxing fans won’t be excited about.

Given that British fans are essentially being charged more than they used to with the Sky Box Office price for Joshua-Pulev being sold at £24.95 rather than the standard £19.95, it’s important that Hearn have at least one interesting fight on the undercard.

Joshua vs. Pulev undercard:

  • Lawrence Okolie vs. TBA
  • Hughie Fury vs. Mariusz Wach
  • Martin Bakolie vs. Sergey Kuzmin
  • Souleymane Cissokho vs. Kieron Conway
  • Qais Ashfaq vs. Ashley Lane
  • Ramla Ali vs. Vanesa Caballero

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