Former Dagenham amateur Okolie opens up European title shot in latest TKO win
PUBLISHED: 14:00 25 July 2019
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Former Dagenham amateur Lawrence Okolie is taking the 'right steps at the right time' after a TKO victory on Saturday teed up a short at the European cruiserweight title.
Okolie dispatched Mariano Angel Gudino in seven rounds at the O2 Arena to set up a clash with unbeaten Belgian Yves Ngabu.
And the reigning British, Commonwealth and WBA Continental title holder showed signs of improvement under the tutelage of new trainer Shane McGuigan, knocking his Argentine opponent (13-3) down four times en route to a stoppage win.
The 26-year-old improved to 13-0, and he was happy with his performance against a slippery and negative operator.
He said: "It was a good performance. I was working with a moving target, which was interesting and I'm happy with it.
"It was a bit frustrating, but I have to learn to deal with whatever happens in the ring."
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Okolie only linked up with McGuigan in May, and the former Olympian believes their partnership is already reaping rewards.
He said: "Things are good with Shane. I'm really happy with the work we've been doing. I was trying to work the jab a lot more in this fight, which I think I did.
"The guy was such a mover, but I stayed patient."
Okolie has endured a frustrating few months. After defeating Canning Town's Wadi Camacho in March he hoped a world title fight against Russia's Denis Lebedev would materialise over the summer.
Lebedev instead chose to retire, forcing Okolie to turn his attentions to a defence of his British championship against Jack Massey on July 6 - only for the Mancunian to suffer an injury which saw the event scrapped.
The hard-hitter was a last-minute addition to Saturday's card, but he has secured a mandatory shot at Ngabu (20-0), and Okolie believes it is the ideal next step in his career.
He said: "It's frustrating I didn't get the Lebedev fight, but it's broken up my transition. It would have been nice to jump straight to world level, but it's good to deal with European level. It's the right step at the right time.
"Ngabu's a good strong boxer and counter puncher, he's good all round. Very strong and very solid. It's going to be a proper fight. I want it next."