Lawrence Okolie proved his credentials on Saturday, knocking out former titleholder Krzysztof Glowacki to claim the vacant WBO cruiserweight title at the SSE Arena, Wembley.
London's Okolie, who moves to 16-0 (13 KOs) with his maiden world title win, had been written off by many as a difficult fighter to watch but put on a mesmerising, inch-perfect show against his toughest opponent to date. It was a champagne performance after serving up mostly tap water thus far in the professional ranks.
Poland's Glowacki, who held the WBO belt until his last fight in 2019 when he was controversially dethroned by Mairis Briedis before the sanctioning body opted to vacate the title, struggled to throw anything at all in the first three rounds as Okolie demonstrated an excellent jab to put his superior reach to full use.
In round four, Okolie turned up the heat and connected with a number of powerful shots that drastically altered the 34-year-old's body language as Glowacki realised he was in for a tough night's work if he was to earn redemption for the nature of his title loss.
And in the early stages of the sixth, Okolie connected with a flush one-two, punctuated by a devastating right as Glowacki came in with his head down. The veteran looked unlikely to answer the count, and when he did return to his feet at eight, he staggered to his corner instead of towards the referee, who completed his journey to '10''.
In his dozen-and-a-quarter professional outings, Okolie has now won the British, Commonwealth, European and a world cruiserweight title. He said after the highlight of his career that he has only just begun.
"Obviously I'm happy," explained Okolie. "I feel blessed. I was really calm throughout the week. It's amazing to be able to put an exclamation mark on my life with a world title. Anything you want in life, if you believe, you can do it.
"I have to thank Shane for the gameplan. I was sure I would get to him, but Shane reminded me not to rush. I said I'd get it done between rounds five and eight.
"Four or five years ago, Eddie Hearn saw a boy from Hackney and said 'if you win a world title, I'll buy you a gold Rolex Sky Dweller'. Now I want my Sky Dweller. And he said I'd get another one if I unify, too!"
Matchroom promoter Hearn will be close to £40,000 out of pocket when he delivers Okolie his well-deserved Rolex, but was nonetheless over the moon with the nature of his charge's victory.
"That was one of the great performances to win a world title," beamed Hearn. "Glowacki is a former two-time champ and a top five cruiserweight in the world. Lawrence has had some stick but he's stepped in there with 15 fights to his name and put on a masterclass.
"We don't want to muck around. We want to unify the division then move up to heavyweight."
Okolie vs. Glowacki undercard results
- Joe Cordina beat Faroukh Kourbanov via majority decision (96-96, 98-93, 96-95)
- Anthony Fowler beat Jorge Fortea via third-round KO
- Ellie Scotney beat Mailys Gangloff via referee’s decision (59-55)
- Chris Billam-Smith beat Vasil Ducar via unanimous decision (99-90 x2, 97-92)
- Ramla Ali beat Bec Connolly via referee’s decision (60-55)
- Bradley Rea beat Lee Cutler via first-round stoppage
Here's how the action went on the night.