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Lawrence Okolie to defend WBO cruiser title against Michal Cieslak on February 27

Lawrence Okolie (left) retained the WBO cruiserweight title by dispatching Dilan Prasovic. Picture by EDDIE KEOGH/Matchroom Boxing
Fighters Network
07
Jan

Lawrence Okolie has a dance partner for his second title defense.

The unbeaten cruiserweight titlist and The Ring’s No. 3-ranked contender will defend his WBO strap on February 27 against former title challenger Michal Cieslak at the O2 Arena in London.

The 29-year-old Okolie (17-0, 14 knockouts), who hails from the London borough of Hackney, won the belt last March when he scored a sixth-round knockout of Krzysztof Glowacki before making his first defense six months later with a third-round destruction of Dilan Prasovic.

There were rumblings of a possible unification fight between Okolie and The Ring Magazine cruiserweight champion Mairis Briedis, who also holds the IBF title. However those plans were thwarted when the Latvian was ordered to make a mandatory defense against Jai Opetaia.



Cieslak (21-1, 15 KOs), ranked No. 8 by The Ring at cruiserweight, has earned his second shot at a title. In January 2020, he was outpointed over 12 rounds by Ilunga Junior Makabu for the then-vacant WBC cruiserweight title in a bout that saw both fighters score knockdowns. However Congo’s Makabu took over the fight down the stretch to hand Cieslak his first loss as a pro.

That said, the 32-year-old has since rebounded with back-to-back stoppage victories and is looking to become the fifth Pole in history to win a cruiserweight title. And while he has knocked out four of his last five opponents, Okolie’s resume is a step ahead. The 6-foot-5 powerhouse has knocked out seven in a row against a slew of better competitors, including three previously unbeaten combatants and a former beltholder.

Okolie picked up a seventh-round stoppage over Yves Ngabu in October 2019 before a two-round blitz job of Nikodem Jezewski nearly 14 months later. His dreams subsequently became reality when he dropped Glowacki flat on his back with a scintillating right hand last March at London’s Wembley Arena to become a first-time titlist.

Okolie and Cieslak will battle to decide who is the more legitimate knockout artist. We will find out on February 27.

 

 

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