By Adam Baskin: Lawrence Okolie (18-0, 14 KOs) will defend his WBO cruiserweight belt against his little-known mandatory challenger David Light (20-0, 12 KOs) next month on March 25th at the AO Arena in Manchester, England.
It’s another example of the 30-year-old Okolie fighting an obscure opponent that will do zero for his career.
Okolie has been inactive for the last year since his victory over Michał Cieślak last February at the O2 Arena.
“I’ll make ‘light’ work of him,” said Okolie about the 31-year-old New Zealand native Light, but that’s not saying much because he’s not viewed as one of the talented fighters in the cruiserweight division.
“I know that Sky and BOXXER will deliver as long as I deliver in the ring. I’ve got to make sure I beat David Light and then beat whoever is next. It’s good to be back, and I’m looking forward to the first step in the journey toward unifications and more world titles.”
Should Okolie move to heavyweight?
It would be great if Okolie could get a unification fight next, but if he’s going to continue to face the lackluster opposition he’s been facing since he turned professional in 2017, he should seriously think about vacating his WBO cruiserweight belt and head North to the heavyweight division so that he can take advantage off his size, power and what’s left of his youth to make some real money.
If former cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk was good enough to win three belts at heavyweight, Okolie should be able to do something similar.
Boxing fans want to see Okolie stop wasting his career fighting ham & eggers, because they want to watch him take on the best of the best in Richard Riakporhe, Jai Opetaia Mairis Briedis.
Unfortunately for Okolie, the cruiserweight division is a virtual ghost town when it comes to quality fighters and guys with fan appeal.
As big as the 6’5″ Okolie is, he would be wise to move up to the heavyweight division, where he can make real money and face fighters that fans are familiar with.
If Okolie is going to move up to heavyweight, he needs a better trainer than SugarHill Steward because he’s not going to go far with the simplistic style that this guy will teach him.
Okolie needs someone like Derrick James that can teach him to fight on the inside and get to develop his coordination because he’s still too uncoordinated to defeat quality fighters, be it at cruiserweight or heavyweight.
Okolie is bigger and more powerful than former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, and yet he’s seemingly satisfied toiling away in obscurity, fighting under the radar against opposition that no one has ever heard of.
Okolie needs a quality coach
The unbeaten Okolie will be teaming up with his new coach SugarHill Steward for the first time, and it’s going to be interesting to see what new style if any, he’ll have the big 6’5″ using.
SugarHill helped WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury by teaching him how to use his huge size to maul his opponents to prevent them from hurting him with their quicker, more powerful shots.
Whether that style will work for Okolie is unknown because he doesn’t possess the huge weight advantage that Fury typically has over his lighter opponents to lean on them to tire them.
Hopefully, SugarHill brings more to the table for Okolie than simply teaching him to maul & rough up his opposition, as Fury has been doing in his fights since they teamed up.
In his last fight, Light defeated Brandon Glanton in a WBO title eliminator, winning a 10 round split decision last December. It would have been night if Light had to have beaten a notable fighter in his eliminator like Richard Riakporhe.