LAWRENCE OKOLIE will be let loose on the big-money heavyweight division in 2022 to follow in mentor Anthony Joshua’s footsteps.
The 6ft 5in Hackney cruiserweight bids for the vacant WBO title on Saturday against tough to beat – and spell – Krzysztof Glowacki.
With the three other titles spread out around the division, the 28-year-old fears becoming undisputed champ is an unlikely honour.
So ‘The Sauce’ and promoter Eddie Hearn are planning to tear into the top ranks where Okolie’s manager and friend AJ rules alongside fellow Brit Tyson Fury.
The Matchroom boss said: “It is no secret with Lawrence that the end goal is to move up to heavyweight. Obviously, it is the most lucrative division in boxing.
“He has the power and size to do that, in time, but I feel he has a lot of unfinished business in the cruiserweight division, although he has only had a small number of fights compared to these seasoned world champions.
“Next week will tell us a lot about Lawrence Okolie, because Glowacki is a world class fighter, he’s a top five cruiserweight in the world, he’s been a world champion and I’ve just got the feeling that Lawrence is going to absolutely demolish him.
“And, if he does, that is such a huge statement I don’t see the need for many voluntary defences, because I only see him at cruiserweight for another year.”
Okolie was flipping burgers in McDonalds in 2012 when AJ’s Olympic win came on the television and inspired him to change his life.
Four years later he was at the Rio games, where he failed to medal, and was then snapped up by Watford’s WBA, IBF and WBO champ to lead his 258 management stable.
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Okolie is on the cusp of being the first male world champ from that Team GB 2016 squad and the first protege from AJBoxing.
And Hearn, who guided Joshua from raw 2012 Olympic golden boy to heavyweight king, is loving the similarities between the super-dedicated pair.
“Listening to Lawrence reminds me so much of AJ,” Hearn added.
“After the Andy Ruiz Jr loss, AJ took full accountability for his career and himself to say 'I’m going to make these changes for myself now because I think this is what I need to do'.
“He’s obsessed with his own development now, so think about what he achieved before he put that into place.
“The encouraging thing is Lawrence has put this in place before he’s even become world champion.
“When AJ beat Charles Martin he didn’t have a clue what he was doing, compared to where he is now, in terms of his sleep, training, rest, recovery, psychology, the extra point one per cent.
"This is the level detail you have to go through if you want to be on top of your game.
“It makes me feel very confident in Lawrence because he’s doing those things now before he becomes a world champion. He’s been around AJ and seen these little things.”
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