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Ben Shalom: On Lawrence Okolie’s return to the ring, unification plans and a move to heavyweight

Ben Shalom is anticipating a big year for Lawrence Okolie as the hard-hitting cruiserweight prepares to make his long-awaited in-ring return under the BOXXER banner in March.

The 200-pound sensation (18-0, 14 KO’s) is preparing to make his BOXXER debut on March 25th as he defends his WBO title against the undefeated David Light (20-0, 12 KO’s) after 12 months out in the wilderness.

However, he will top the bill in Manchester next month as he looks to further cement his standing within the cruiserweight division, having rarely been troubled, let alone hit the canvas, in any of his 18 professional bouts to date.

BOXXER founder & CEO Shalom has been eager to get ‘The Sauce’ back into the ring and, despite some hiccups along the way, is excited that the wait is finally over to get the talented cruiserweight back doing what he does best.

“I can say, as I’m sure you all are, that I’m glad it all seems to be over now - it’s been a long time, even for him it’s a long time for a fighter to be out of the ring," he told bet365.

“He was supposed to be chief support to Josh Taylor v Jack Catterall 2, so that was a massive shame as that was going to be an unbelievable bill but we are now looking at March for Lawrence to get in there with David Light.

“Light beat Brandon Glanton who I was actually looking at for Lawrence regardless, because I thought ‘this guys a bit of a knockout machine’ and he looks a top quality cruiserweight.

“For David Light to come through that he’s clearly got some real talent so it’s one of those mandatories that you have to be really careful with because, given he’s been out the ring for what will be more than 12 months, it’s a tough fight.

“As you would expect for a world title, they are all tough fights and we will see that in March.” 

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Providing Okolie (1/6) can cement his dominance within the hugely-exciting 200-pound division this year, Shalom harbours ambitions of elevating the tricky and tenacious fighter up to the equally as stacked heavyweight division.

Of course, 'The Sauce' has to manoeuvre through a potentially tricky fight against 7/2 shot David Light in March but for many, including Shalom, that fight is merely a stepping stone en-route to even bigger things. 

“I’d like to see a unification, I’d like to see the Richard Riakporhe fight and then I’d like to see him go up to heavyweight," the BOXER CEO & Founded added.

“Anyone who gets into the ring with Lawrence, spars with him, trains him or gets involved, knows how seriously talented this guy is, both at cruiserweight and heavyweight.

“It is unbelievable to have him as one of the few world champions that this country has and I think that he can go to heavyweight and cause a lot of damage.

“His focus now though, is unification and a fight with his old friend Richard Riakporhe – which I think we can see later this year!” 

View the latest markets and odds ahead of Lawrence Okolie v David Light

All odds within this article were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.

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