Boxing: Lawrence Okolie to put unbeaten record on the line against Isaac Chamberlain on Saturday
PUBLISHED: 16:00 30 January 2018
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London rivals meet on a packed Matchroom show at The O2 on Saturday
Lawrence Okolie and Isaac Chamberlain put their unbeaten records and plenty of pride at stake in the ring at The O2 on Saturday.
Former Dagenham BC amateur Okolie and his south London rival have swapped online and face-to-face insults.
Their exchanges have fanned the flames of a rivalry that gets a big show setting, though the cruiserweight pair have both had less than ten bouts: Chamberlain with nine straight wins, while Okolie has seven successes.
Team GB Rio Olympian Okolie believes his amateur pedigree will see him through, but former Southern Area champion Chamberlain wants to dent his rival’s ego.
“I am better than him in every single department,” said Okolie. “If he comes at me, it’s over quickly. If he boxes on the backfoot and looks to take me rounds, I’ll show my boxing pedigree. Anything he brings to the table, I will answer it and do so with a brutal KO.
“He’s motivated by money, I’m motivated by my ambitions as a fighter. I’m nine months into my career and I feel ready to have a fight with someone in the top five in Britain, so this is normal really.
“It comes from jealousy from him and his coach, Ted Bami. They said that they’ve been watching me since I went to the Olympics. We’ve known each other for a long time and they see me as a big money fight and now they’ve got it. Let’s see if it’s too early for me or if it’s too early for him.”
Chamberlain said: “I’m very confident. We’ve been preparing for this fight for a while, I can’t wait. People will see how I deal with him and adapt in the fight.
“I’ve sparred and boxed big hitters, he waffles a lot and he talks too much, his ego is too high and when I beat him, it’ll knock him down a peg.”
Eddie Hearn’s bill, screened on Sky Sports, sees big-punching Ted Cheeseman face American dangerman Carson Jones, while Reece Bellotti defends his Commonwealth featherweight belt against Ben Jones.
Matchroom’s bright prospects Rio Olympian Joshua Buatsi, Felix Cash, Charlie Edwards and Danny Dignum are named on the undercard of the first London fight night of 2018.
With plenty of stars of the future on show at the O2 this Saturday night, many will hope they can stake their claim and show why they are thought of so highly in boxing circles.