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Stoke Newington Olympian ready to dominate the cruiserweight division

PUBLISHED: 12:31 14 March 2017 | UPDATED: 12:31 14 March 2017

Lawrence Okolie, seen relaxing with team-mate Nicola Adams at the Rio Olympics, is ready to make his mark on the professional ranks. Picture: DAVID DAVIES/PA WIRE

Lawrence Okolie, seen relaxing with team-mate Nicola Adams at the Rio Olympics, is ready to make his mark on the professional ranks. Picture: DAVID DAVIES/PA WIRE

PA/Press Association Images

Lawrence Okolie is excited ahead of his professional debut in Manchester and says he wants to dominate the cruiserweight division.

The Stoke Newington Olympian starts his assault when he takes on Derbyshire’s Russell Henshaw at the Manchester Arena on March 25.

Okolie, whose fight is on the undercard of Anthony Crolla’s world lightweight unification rematch with Jorge Linares, is the first of the British boxers from Rio to turn professional and despite Henshaw posing a stiff test, he is happy to dive into the deep end.

The 24-year-old said: “Everyone is excited to see how I do – and I am too.

“I believe that I can do the business but I am stepping into the unknown, it’s really exciting. It’s a great bill to start on and Russell is a really good test for my debut.

“I’m really happy that there’s so much interest in me and my Olympic team mates. We handled a lot of pressure in Rio and to qualify for it; you know that if you lose in the qualifiers you aren’t going to get to go to the games and then when you are there, you know that millions of people are watching you.

“So I’ve learnt how to deal with handling the weight of expectation and still performing to the best of my abilities, and that’s going to stand me in good stead in the pros.

“I want to dominate the division. I’m not afraid to let the other cruiserweights know that I’m here and I am coming for them.

“I have all the physical and mental attributes to achieve it, I just have to get the experience and the real belief - not self-belief because I have that - but real belief from getting out there and getting in with someone that has trained to beat you.

“That’s when I’ll learn a lot about myself and get that real belief that I can go on to do great things.”

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