By Hayden Knowles
‘The Sauce’ breezed through his first fight since teaming up with SugarHill Steward, against tough New Zealander David Light. The fight was not Okolie’s best by any means, but it was another successful title defence. Physical strength is a key skill that Okolie possesses, and he was able to use this against Light, who struggled to land any damaging shots. Not many fighters have been able to go toe-to-toe with the cruiserweight.
The most exciting action came in the latter rounds, Okolie had Light rocked in the 10th round, but the Kiwi recovered well. The fight was underwhelming overall with the crowd failing to play any part, but Okolie still got the job done winning by UD, 116-112, 119-108, 117-110.
Okolie wants to leave behind a legacy in boxing and become a unified champion. Although Okolie has that one-punch power that can knockout any opponent, he didn’t demonstrate this against Light, as he was able to soak up the pressure despite losing the rounds.
‘The Sauce’ wants to move up in weight eventually, as soon as the opportunities at cruiserweight are no longer available, but here are some fights that could be up next for Okolie.
Richard Riakporhe has called Okolie out on numerous occasions, and this could be a mouth-watering all-British world title fight. Both fighters are signed with Boxxer and if Riakporhe can win his first world title, this would make the bout even more appealing. The atmosphere was poor in the AO Arena in Manchester, for the fight against Light. But a bout with Riakporhe, would be a crowd pleaser, especially if it was a unification clash.
Ring Magazine and IBF champion, Jai Opetaia took to Twitter to react to Okolie’s latest victory. He said: “Grass growing, paint drying, Okolie fighting…” The Australian is clearly confident of his chances if he was to face Okolie. A unification fight against Aussie Opetaia, could be exactly what Okolie needs to get the buzz back with the fans.
Another opponent that has been discussed for Okolie in the past, is three-time cruiserweight world champion, Mairis Breidis. The Latvian fighter has faced some of the best at cruiserweight, like Oleksandr Usyk and Manuel Charr. With Okolie’s awkward style and power troubling everyone he has come across so far, Breidis is one of the only fighters at cruiserweight, I can see causing him any problems. Breidis will come towards Okolie and put him under pressure. This should force Okolie to take more chances and use his explosive power.
Okolie has said he would be open to a clash with Chris Billam-Smith in a ‘winner takes all’ fight, if he wins in Bournemouth, on May 27th. This would set up another all-British bout that would test Okolie to the maximum. Both fighters are friends outside of the ring and have a mutual respect, so if a fight was to happen, it would be strictly business.
Badou Jack has been mentioned on Social Media as an opponent for Okolie, after he beat Ilunga Makabu to gain the WBC cruiserweight title. However, I just can’t see this happening. Jack would be a stern test for Okolie, but I couldn’t see Jack bringing enough buzz around the fight, which is needed at this moment in time for the Brit.