Boxing: Hearn hails Okolie following latest success

Lawrence Okolie in action against Mariano Angel Gudino at the O2 Arena, London.

Lawrence Okolie in action against Mariano Angel Gudino at the O2 Arena, London. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Lawrence Okolie banked ‘very important rounds’ at the weekend ahead of his European title bid, according to promoter Eddie Hearn.

The Hackney cruiserweight notched up his 13th straight win on Saturday at the O2 Arena, stopping Mariano Angel Gudino in seven rounds.

Okolie has drawn criticism from some quarters for recent performances, but Hearn believes his the British and Commonwealth champion dispatched the Argentine in good fashion.

The Matchroom Boxing boss said: "I thought his performance was actually quite good. He's always up against because as soon as the bell goes people go 'oh it's Lawrence Okolie'.

"The opponent was a nightmare because he gave it the big one at the weigh-in, but his bum fell out completely in the ring.

"He ran around the ring, but Lawrence didn't rush it or clinch.

"I think he boxed well and those six or seven rounds he got in were very important, because his next fight is a 50/50 fight for the European title against a very good fighter."

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Okolie has turned his attentions to a tilt at European champion Yves Ngabu, and Hearn revealed he hopes to get the fight over the line this week.

He added: "He wants that fight, and I'm not sure whether taking the fight is the right thing to do, but I'd like to see it and that will be next.

"It will be in October in the UK, and we will be trying to make that deal this week."

Hearn has also been impressed by Okolie's fledgling partnership with new trainer Shane McGuigan, who took the 6ft 5in man under his stewardship in May.

Hearn said: "I thought his feet were better, his punching was crisper and his balance was better. I think it's going to work really well."

Elsewhere on the bill, fellow cruiserweight Richard Riakporhe continued his winning run with a split decision win over Chris Billam-Smith, keeping Okolie and the south London heavy hitter on a collision course for a fight further down the road.