On Saturday night at the O2 Arena in London Lawrence Okolie (8-0, 6KOs) from Hackney defeated Brixton-born Isaac Chamberlain (9-1,4KOs) in the battle of East vs South London.
Failed to deliver
Okolie, 25 did win empthatically by knocking down Chamberlain twice and outpointing a disappointing Chamberlain in almost every round. Unfortunately for me the fight failed the deliver as a spectacle and it showed just how far both fighters are off the pace in the cruiserweight division.
Of course, it is still early days in both their careers and no doubt they have gained valuable experience by fighting each other but look no further than the Sochi Stunner to show just how far behind they are in the cruiserweight division.
Pressure of the occasion
The writing was on the cards for Chamberlain from the very first round when he went down from the first Okolie right hand. Obviously concerned by the ‘Sauce’s power the 23-year old kept reducing the gap to prevent further punishment.
The poor start continued for ‘Chambo’ when he was deducted a point for excessive holding in the second round.
The 6ft 5inch frame of Okolie was proving difficult for Chamberlain to get past. Even when Isaac made his opponent miss he was unable to get off any punches. Maybe the pressure of the occasion was too much to handle or maybe he was just resinded to the fact that he just wasn’t good enough on the night?
It became more of a wrestling match at times to the dissatisfaction of the 8,000 strong crowd who started the vent their frustration at the lack of action.
Okolie wins comfortably
In the sixth round Chamberlain was caught with a chopping right hand that forced him to touch the canvas which prompted another count by referee Steve Gray.
Chamberlain did manage to win the ninth but only because Okolie was also deducted a point for holding. The last round was probably the most entertaining because both fighters finally managed to take a step back and let their hands go.
In the end it was Lawrence Okolie that won by unanimous decision with scores of 98-89, 96-90 & 97-89. I agreed with the third judge 97-89.
I own London
After the fight Lawrence Okolie was delighted with his victory, he said: “In the build-up to this, it was east London versus south London but I consider myself London.
Right now in the cruiserweight division, I own London, now let’s go for Britain.
“I answered questions in there. Isaac is a good fighter and he tested me in different ways. This is a benchmark and I want to push on from this”.
On the undercard Ted Cheeseman (13-0, 8KOs) won a unanimous decision against the durable Carson Jones (40-13-3, 30KOs). It was a good performance from the Bermondsey boy but improvement is needed if he is to fulfill his potential.
Light heavyweight Joshua Buatsi (4-0, 3KOs) who like Lawrence Okolie is under the management of Anthony Joshua produced a polished performance against Jordan Joseph (7-2-1,2KOs).
If the 24-year old can continue to improve at this rate it won’t be long before the British boxing faithful start calling for another London rivalry against Anthony Yarde (14-0, 13KOs).