This weekend’s action starts early here in the states; if you could find a stream that will have the latest BOXXER event that will be shown on Sky Sports in the U.K. WBO cruiserweight champion Lawrence Okolie (18-0) will put his title and undefeated record on the line against another undefeated fighter in David Light (20-0). The cruiserweight division gets overlooked often, but there is a real opportunity here to shed some light on that division if these two fighters can put on an eye-catching performance. On Thursday, they held a press conference to see what the fighters had to say as they prepare to weigh-in tomorrow.
Here is the release from BOXXER. All photos are by Lawrence Lustig for BOXXER.
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – (March 23, 2023) – World cruiserweight champion Lawrence Okolie came face to face with David Light in Manchester today at the pre-fight press conference ahead of this Saturday’s clash at the AO Arena Manchester, which will air live on Sky Sports. Light has battled his way to the mandatory challenger position for this shot at Okolie’s WBO title. Both fighters are undefeated, which means one of them will lose his ‘0’ this weekend. Okolie (18-0, 14 KO’s) says the loser of the bout will become “irrelevant” and confidently expects that to be New Zealand man Light, while Light (20-0, 12 KO’s) is revelling in his underdog status and promising the upset.
Olympic standouts Karriss Artingstall (2-0) and Frazer Clarke (5-0, 4 KO’s) – both of whom won bronze medals at the 2020 Olympics – also compete this weekend in the next bouts of their nascent professional careers. Clarke had been due to face American veteran Rydell Booker but now has a late change of opponent due to Booker falling ill.
The slot has gone to towering Romanian special forces soldier Bogdan Dinu (20-4, 16 KO’s), who challenged for the vacant WBA Inter-Continental heavyweight title last year and has also faced former world title challenger Kubrat Pulev in 2019.
Also facing off at today’s press conference were local favourite Michael Gomez Jr (18-1, 5 KO’s) son of Manchester boxing legend Michael Gomez, and his undefeated rival Levi Giles (13-0, 3 KO’s). The two are competing for the vacant English Super-Featherweight Championship.
“He’s coming to win, [which] sets you up for a lot of openings. But you don’t get to this position by overlooking people, ever.
“It’s a nice safe place to hide behind being the underdog. When I see him I know what he really is. I’m prepared for what he may bring and will do what I need to do.
“I am going to be matching him and overmatching him for pressure and power from round one.
“Saturday’s going to come. One of us is going to win and the other one’s going to become irrelevant. So I’m looking forward to it.”
“I’m not here on somebody’s else’s terms… I’ve earned the shot. I’m coming to win. I know he’s a proud man and he’s going to defend with everything he’s got.
“I could have taken this fight a few years ago, for the money, but I am not here for the money – I’m here for the title.”
BEN SHALOM, BOXXER PROMOTER + CEO
“This is a serious fight, a proper world-title fight. It’s someone who has earned his position, not someone we have chosen and not necessarily someone we would choose for [Okolie’s] first fight after a year out, with a new trainer on a new platform.
“We know David Light is tough, durable and can punch. We know he’s always fighting on the front foot and he’s going to stick it on Lawrence on Saturday night. There’s a lot of pressure on Lawrence to prove to everyone who he is, why we believe he’s the best cruiserweight in the world.
“He’s got to be able to deal with David Light. I’m very excited for it, I think we’re in for an absolute treat and we’re certainly not overlooking David Light.”
“He knows how to go into people’s backyards and win, that’s one thing he’s really good at. He’s based in New Zealand, he comes to Australia and wins, he goes to the US and wins. I know his trainer Isaac Peach has put a great game-plan together and I’ve told Ben Shalom we’re here to spoil the party.”
MICHAEL GOMEZ JR
“I’ll punch you up now,” Gomez told Giles directly.
“I don’t know anything about him. Saturday night we’ll find out who he is.
“I’m just going to punch his face in. I’m just going to go in there, stick it on him and see how good he is.
“I do my talking in the ring. It’s a good test for me, see where I’m at.
“We know what he brings. Forward, one dimensional. We know what he’s going to bring and we know how to deal with it.”
“Her throwing her shots is going to leave more openings for me so I’m going to find my shots as well.”
“I am a level above [her] – two levels, if anything! – and I’ll show that on Saturday.”
“I just wanted the opportunity to show everyone on a big stage what I can actually do. I’m not scared to take any fight. I’ll fight anyone at any time on any stage.
“I have got the experience. She’s the one that’s got everything to prove.”
“Unfortunately, Rydell Booker had to pull out of the fight. He had a medical problem and best wishes to him, we hope he gets better soon. But we’ve got a new opponent, Bogdan Dinu, he’s a credible opponent, who’s boxed some great names. It’s a good fight for me and I’m looking forward to it.”
“This is heavyweight boxing. It’s dangerous. Especially this guy at short notice. It’s up to me to be professional, which I am, go in there and do my job. I’m looking forward to it.
“It doesn’t matter who’s getting in with me at the weekend. I feel confident, I’m fit and strong. I’m ready to do a job.”
Born and raised in the Bronx, New York City, Abe grew up in a family who were and still are die-hard boxing fans. He started contributing boxing articles in 2017 while being an active duty U.S. Marine. Abe is the Managing Editor for Big Fight Weekend and also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA).