Lawrence Okolie defends WBO cruiserweight title with KO win over Dilan Prasovic

Okolie barely had to get out of second gear against his Montenegrin foe.

David Charlesworth
Saturday 25 September 2021 21:49
<p>Lawrence Okolie, right, was rarely stretched on Saturday night</p>

Lawrence Okolie, right, was rarely stretched on Saturday night

Lawrence Okolie can start to look at unifying the cruiserweight division after making a successful first defence of his WBO title with a third-round knockout of overmatched mandatory challenger Dilan Prasovic.

In a bout that served as the chief support to Anthony Joshua’s world heavyweight title fight against Oleksandr Usyk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Okolie barely had to get out of second gear against his Montenegrin foe.

The previously unbeaten Prasovic took a knee in the final minute of the second round after a clubbing overhand right from Okolie, who attempted to follow up with an uppercut that seemed to graze his opponent on the way down.

The writing was on the wall from that moment on. While Prasovic was able to survive the round he was barely clinging on and a vicious left hook to the body ended matters one minute and 57 seconds into the next session.

Prasovic was off-balance before taking the blow but clutched his midsection in pain as he was counted out by referee Steve Gray to hand Okolie his 17th win from 17 contests, with 14 of those coming inside the distance.

The Rio 2016 Olympian has made no secret of his wish to win more honours at 200lbs before eventually moving up to heavyweight after becoming world champion earlier this year with victory over veteran Pole Krzysztof Glowacki.

On that occasion, Okolie delivered a career-best display against a former world champion to claim the vacant WBO crown behind closed doors at Wembley Arena but this time there were tens of thousands to cheer him on.

He was in no mood to prolong the occasion, though, clinically ending the fight in less than 10 minutes as Prasovic suffered his first defeat in 16 professional clashes.

Further down the card, Campbell Hatton claimed his fourth win as a professional from four fights but was given a major scare by unheralded Uruguayan Sonni Martinez.

Hatton, the son of former two-weight world champion Ricky, was awarded a 58-57 points decision after his first six-rounder, although there were a smattering of boos when the verdict was read out.

Meanwhile, London-based Albanian welterweight Florian Marku edged out Ukraine’s Maxim Prodan by split decision after 10 rounds and Chicago middleweight Christopher Ousley won on points against Russia’s Khasan Baysangurov.