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Lawrence Okolie ready to handle pressure of pro debut

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Rio 2016 Olympian Lawrence Okolie insists he wants to enjoy the experience of making his professional debut at cruiserweight this weekend.

Lawrence Okolie is confident he will handle the pressure of his professional debut and deliver a performance that underlines his potential in the cruiserweight division.

The 24-year-old will make his pro bow against Russell Henshaw (7-3 KO2) on the undercard of Anthony Crolla's rematch with WBA world lightweight champion Jorge Linares at Manchester Arena on Saturday, live on Sky Sports 1HD.

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Okolie, who became the first 2016 Team GB boxer to turn pro in January, says he is relishing his first taste of action in the paid ranks.

"I feel amazing and I'm in great shape. Now I'm just going to rest and recover and take in the atmosphere, pressure and anticipation of my pro debut," he said.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 08:  Lawrence Okolie of Great Britain (red) fights Erislandy Savon of Cuba (blue) in their Mens 91kg Heavyweight bout on Da
Image: Okolie competed for Team GB at the Rio 2016, but did not secure a medal

"I am just going to go out there and perform the way I've been performing in the gym and as an amateur. When you're boxing as an amateur in big tournaments, it's 50/50 fights all the time.

"So, you have the pressure of wanting to win, but you're not expected to.

"But in the pro ranks, you're expected to go out there and show people want you're made of, it's a different kind of pressure, but one I am relishing and I am going to make sure I deliver."

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Okolie insisted earlier this month he was targeting domination of the cruiserweight division and the London-born fighter reiterated his desire to face the best in the future.

"I feel there are some good fighters who don't have a great platform," he said. "You see a load of amazing small shows and top quality cruiserweights don't really get a look in," he said.

"I think a lot of them are going to be hoping that I deliver the way I delivered as an amateur, build up my profile in the division and we can have some great fights together."

Watch Jorge Linares vs Anthony Crolla II and a packed undercard, live from the Manchester Arena, from 7pm, Saturday, Sky Sports 1HD.

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