Boxing: Okolie ‘very difficult to beat’ says Hearn
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Cruiserweight Lawrence Okolie ‘is going to be very difficult to beat’ as a world title fight looms, according to promoter Eddie Hearn.
‘The Sauce’ moved to 12-0 on Saturday with a TKO win over Wadi Camacho at the Copper Box Arena, and Hearn believes his charge is already capable of winning a world title despite his lack of seasoning in the pro game.
The British champion has called for a fight with Russian Denis Lebedev for the WBA crown, and the Matchroom Boxing promoter makes the 26-year-old a favourite.
He said: “It’s too early but I believe he can beat Lebedev. It’s going to be a decision we’ve got to look at over the next week or so and we need to think if we should take it.”
Okolie fancies the fight on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s unified heavyweight title defence against Jarrell Miller in New York City, but Hearn revealed it could headline a show in London or feature on a ‘big card’ in July.
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He added: “The main thing is whether it is the right fight. The honest answer is no, but I believe he can beat Lebedev and I think he’s the favourite.
“Sometimes it’s about timing and getting the guy at the right moment, and this might be the right one.”
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Alternative options include a crack at IBO champion Kevin Lerena or a European title shot.
Hearn believes Okolie performed well against Camacho, under increased scrutiny, adding: “Lawrence is trying not to hold but unfortunately Wadi was holding, which I don’t blame him for, but it was a bit disappointing.
“He has immense power and as soon as he caught Wadi it was pretty much all over so it was an impressive performance and I think he needs to move on.
“It’s hard because he shouldn’t be doing what he is at this stage of his career, in terms of the ease in which he is winning big fights.
“He’s won the Commonwealth twice, is British champion and WBA continental champion – but he’s had only 12 fights.
“People should really be saying it is good Lawrence is going so fast but when you are so inexperienced you will be exposed in certain situations – but he’s still winning.
“It won’t always be pretty, but I don’t know who is going to beat him. He’s going to be very difficult to beat.”