Lawrence Okolie Retains WBO Title In Sloppy Bout
In his return to the ring for the first time and just over a year, WBO Cruiserweight Champion Lawrence Okolie won a sloppy 12 round unanimous decision over his little known opponent from New Zealand Saturday night.
Okolie, now 19-0, 14 KOs, successfully defended his title over WBO mandatory challenger David Light, who had primarily fought in New Zealand and Australia throughout his career before venturing to Manchester, England for the main event from Boxxer Promotions at the AO Arena.
— BOXXER (@boxxer) March 25, 2023
Okolie won easily on scores of 119-108, 116-112, and 117-110. Big Fight Weekend had the bout 117-110 for the champion.
Okolie used his 4-inch height and 8-inch reach advantage throughout much of the fight, while scoring with long left jabs and right hands behind it.
Light, now 20-1, didn’t offer much offensively other than trying to brawl the bigger Okolie and score punches inside, which he did infrequently.
Okolie got the better of the action throughout the first half of the fight landing right hands and occasionally good shots to the body. The dull action picked up in the 10th round when Okolie scored a hard right hand early on that trapped Light in the corner and scored a couple of more rights and lefts for the most significant action of the bout to that point. However, he could not extend the advantage through the rest of the round.
Okolie was obviously comfortably in front, when referee Bob Williams mysteriously took a point away from him for holding in round 11. However, the same referee allowed Light to repeatedly hit Okolie with rabbit punch after rabbit punch in clinches throughout the fight (more than a dozen times), without ever warning him once for doing it.
Nevertheless the point deduction was no factor and shortly after it Okolie scored a hard right hand that staggered Light, who was clearly weary. He then hit Light with a hard uppercut coming in and light buckled along the ropes, but it was only seconds before the bell to end the 11th round. The 12th round was much of the same with Okolie scoring from distance with a jab light trying to clench and brawl and the fight concluded for an easy decision win for the Brit.
It was Okolie’s third defense of his WBO crown that he won by beating Krzysztof Glowacki by KO in March 2021. He most recently beat Michal Cieslak by 12 round decision last February.
Okolie said to Sky Sports after the fight “I wasn’t sure if I fought ring rust, but I definitely did. David Light was extremely tough. He had a good tactic of moving around to his right to take away my right hand. He really went to work. It was a good tactic and it was hard for me to shake off. After a year out of the ring, I was trying to get myself pumped and going. At the end of the day I don’t need to make excuses. I just need to get better.”
Okolie still is pointing towards a possible unification fight somewhere down the road and maybe, the name Badu Jack could come into play. Jack the multi-division world champ recently won the WBC cruiserweight championship in a dominant 12 round performance last month over Junior Makabu.