It wasn’t pretty, but Lawrence Okolie got the job done in a battle between unbeatens.
After six rounds of mostly sloppy boxing, Okolie (14-0, 11 KOs) connected with a devastating right hand to the jaw of Yves Ngabu (20-1, 14 KOs) that immediately ended the fight. Referee Jean Robert Laine stopped the contest at the 2:28 mark before another blow could be landed on Ngabu, who was wobbling around the ring, but still on his feet from the vicious punch. Okolie scored the technical knockout and picked up the European cruiserweight crown for his efforts Saturday as part of the undercard of the super lightweight unification bout between Josh Taylor and Regis Prograis at the O2 Arena in London.
Standing at six feet, five inches tall,Okolie, a 2016 British Olympian, sported a five-inch height advantage and 10-inch reach advantage over the Belgian boxer inNgabu, who failed to close the distance on his Brit counterpart but countered whenever he could.
The match at times was scrappy, as Okolie tactically wrapped Ngabu and dropped his weight on the shoulders of his smaller opponent, and engaged with shots immediately after the break. But there was more to be desired of Okolie’s overall output.
“I felt that it was going to be hard because he was short and stocky,” said Okolie. “I picked it up in the last half of the fight, and let it go. If I hit any cruiserweight in the chin, he’s going to go. I’m progressing, learning all the time, have the physical attributes and I’m ready for a world title fight.”
“He’s breezing through everybody, and he’s going to breeze his way to a world title,” said Matchroom Boxing head Eddie Hearn.
After a slow first round, Okolie leveraged his long limbs to his liking in the second, letting his hands go and unleashing a flurry late in the frame that saw several right hands successfully land on Ngabu.
Ngabu came out of the gates in round five with intent, applying pressure and forcing himself on Okolie with a bloodied nose. A left hook got Okolie’s attention, who pushed him away and immediately landed a wild right.
By the seventh, Okolie proved he was the stronger fighter with a more clean and crisp right hand that ended Ngabu’s night, and now, bigger opportunities are on his horizon.