Hackney boxer Okolie set to get big time opportunity against Briedis

File photo dated 21-09-2021 of Lawrence Okolie during a Media Workout. Issue date: Wednesday Septemb

Lawrence Okolie during a media workout. - Credit: PA

Kalle Sauerland believes Hackney's Lawrence Okolie will get his big time opportunity to face Mairis Briedis in what would be a mouthwatering unification bout.

The classy 36-year-old Latvian, who currently holds both the IBF world and The Ring Magazine cruiserweight titles, is keen to regain the WBO mantle from "The Sauce". It was controversially taken away from him in October 2019 after he refused to accept a rematch with Poland's Krzysztof Głowacki, who incidentally lost to Okolie for the same vacant title last March.

Following his comfortable three round victory over Montenegro's Dilan Prasovic at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Okolie expressed his interest to face the Riga born orthodox specialist.

Briedis, whose only loss in his 28-fight record came against Ukraine's newly crowned unified world champion Oleksandr Usyk, has won all but the WBA strap in the highly competitive cruiserweight division. 

Lawrence Okolie (left) celebrates after retaining the WBO World Cruiserweight title belt after defea

Lawrence Okolie (left) celebrates after retaining the WBO World Cruiserweight title belt after defeating Dilan Prasovic via Round 3 knockout at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. - Credit: PA

German-born promoter and former Kilburn schoolboy Sauerland, who heads the newly formed Wasserman Boxing, told this newspaper that the clash can be made in a joint promotion with Okolie's paymasters Matchroom Boxing.


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"It's one of the big unifications," he said. "Briedis has done lots of unifications before and he wants that.

"It's a fight a lot of people would like to see and it's also a fight that Briedis really wants and Okolie really wants, so it's just down to Eddie Hearn and myself to make it.

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"I've done a lot of fights with Eddie over the years, big big big fights and this would be another one so I guess from a business point of view it will sum up I can get along very well at a business sense and we can make that fight happen."

Briedis defends his title against Germany's Artur Mann on October 16 at his hometown of Riga and Sauerland hopes to seal the deal for the unification clash with Okolie by then.

"The big question is Briedis is obviously fighting on October 16 and then also we've got a mandatory situation but if we make a deal now there's a possibly to get around that," Spurs fanatic Sauerland said.

"Talking about timing, I think after this fight it's the next fight I love to see absolutely."

Sauerland has been impressed at the way Okolie has progressed on route in becoming a world champion. 

"I saw Okolie a lot through when I was watching Josh Taylor train during his world boxing super series.

"He's a very heavy puncher and I think he's a great champion. He's a great ambassador for the UK and the sport and for what he's achieved. 

"The question is can he be a great champ and Briedis is a great champ: three time world champion, The Ring magazine belt holder, world number one in the division, world boxing super series and Muhammed Ali trophy winner, the most decorated cruiserweight.

"Let's not make any bones about it. It's a massive step up for Okolie but also for him it's a massive opportunity. Briedis is happy to give it to him, he wants that belt for his collection.

"He felt the WBO robbed him at the time of it after the Krzysztof Glowacki fight (which the Latvian won back in June 2019).

"Okolie's now got it and he's eyeing at that belt and he wants that belt."

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