Cruiserweight Lawrence Okolie did a quick job of Nikodem Jezewski, whom he put under pressure three times on Saturday at the SSE Arena in London in a TKO win in the second round.
For Okolie, who is now waiting for a world title, this was an uncomfortable fight that he just had to deal with. Jezewski (19-1-1, 11 KOs) was a last-minute replacement after Okolie’s first world title attempt against Krzysztof Glowacki was canceled. But Okolie easily coped with the late change in his opponent.
“I will be united world champion in 2021,” said Okolie from London after the fight.
Former world title Glowacki tested positive for COVID-19 and fellow Polish Jezewski entered a week in advance, but without the vacant WBO world cruiserweight title.
Okolie (15-0, 13 KOs), 27, led by Anthony Joshua, a unified heavyweight playlist, showed he has heavyweight power. Okolie put Jezewski twice on the ground in the first round, first with a body shot, then with a straight to the right, before dropping him again.
Okolie predictably dropped Jezewski again in the second round, right hand straight to his jaw, and the fight was broken off.
“Glowacki, [WBC champion Ilunga] Makabu, [Mairis] Breidis, Okolie will go through the entire cruiserweight division before moving into the heavyweight division, “said Eddie Hearn of Matchroom, who promotes Okolie.
Okolie ranks second on the WBO governing body, his highest rank among the four bodies, and has yet to fight for a world title.
Anger overcomes bad style, dominates awake
Hughie Fury, cousin of WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, shrugged a cut above his left eye from an accidental headbutt to unanimously highlight Mariusz Wach 100-190 (twice) and 100-91 in a 10-round heavyweight bout .
Fury continued his aggression despite the injury and was rewarded with a deserved victory to continue his momentum for a future world title bout.
26-year-old Fury (25-3, 14 KOs) from Manchester, England met his hopes for world title by losing to Alexander Povetkin in 2019, Kubrat Pulev in 2018 and Joseph Parker in 2017.
Hughie has played many rounds with Tyson, who is similar in size and range to Wach (36-4, 19 KOs) (40) from Poland, and he felt comfortable as an attacker against a bigger opponent.
Fury started the fourth round aggressively and in good control, but ended the round at risk of being stopped after the ring doctor was asked to check the cut.
Wach, who weighed 27 pounds more than Fury, has long since passed his prime when he took Wladimir Klitschko the distance in an unsuccessful World Championship attempt eight years ago, but he had enough left to stretch Fury the full distance.
Bakole beats Kuzmin to win a unanimous decision
Heavyweight Martin Bakole boxed properly without taking too many risks to highlight Sergey Kuzmin in a 10-round win with a unanimous decision. All three judges scored the bout for Bakole (98-92, 97-93 and 96-94).
Bakole (15-1, 12 KOs), who is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo but now lives in Scotland, is Joshua’s sparring partner. Since he was stopped by Michael Hunter in 2018, he has now collected five wins in a row.
33-year-old Russian Kuzmin (15-1, 11 KOs) lost to Hunter in his previous fight 15 months ago, but gave Bakole a close fight and caught Bakole with his right hand in the final round. But Bakole’s thrust proved key throughout the fight and eventually led him to victory.