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NXTGEN: Lawrence Okolie looks back on a remarkable weight-loss regime that led to a boxing dream

A shift from munching to punching with incredible results

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 03:  Lawrence Okolie of Great Britain or Team GB from the mens Boxing Team warms up during the Olympics preview day - 2 at

How did Lawrence Okolie lose so much weight and how has he developed devastating punch power? We asked the London cruiserweight to reveal all...

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It's well documented that you used to carry a lot of weight, was there a reason for that?

I used to be a secret eater, so in between me coming from school or college and my mum getting in, I would make myself more food, stuff like pancakes and snacks.

I would save up pocket money just to simply spend on chocolate.

And it was boxing that helped you lose weight?

Lawrence Okolie

Boxing was a big reason to lose weight for me because of the weight categories in the sport.

The heavier the weight class, the harder you will get hit, so I became desperate to get down my weight as much as possible.

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What did you cut out of your diet when you first considered boxing?

I mainly cut out a lot of late night eating.

I still have a sweet tooth so I would have the odd chocolate bar here or there. It's about reducing the quantity of an item so if I wanted chocolate, I would just buy a smaller bar than usual.

When boxing became very serious for you, how did the diet change again?

BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL - JULY 29:  Joshua Buatsi and Lawrence Okolie of Great Britain shadow box during a Team GB Boxing media access session at Minas Tenn
Image: Lawrence Okolie came through the Team GB amateur system and featured at the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio

I've changed to a mainly vegan diet, obviously the odd Ferrero Rocher does makes it through, but now I don't eat meat, fish, eggs or cow's milk.

I eat all the wonderful fruit and vegetables out there, rice, grains, basically stuff that gives me energy to train but then it's not as hard to process in my body.

Before I would balloon up in weight as soon as I had a fight but now it is easier to maintain.

Is it easy to get hold of all the foods you require?

Signs display the price in pounds sterling of fruit and vegetables at a street market in southeast London, on February 14, 2017.
British annual inflation p
Image: London fruit stool

To be honest, I'm fortunate where I live as my area has become a lot more vegan friendly and has some great fruit stools around - people would be surprised how many delicious fruits are out there.

With that, carbohydrates are very important and instead of a blob of meat on my plate I will opt for a sweet potato instead.

We have already seen that you are very heavy-handed, does that power come naturally?

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Lawrence Okolie made an amazing start to his pro career winning with a huge KO in the first twenty seconds!

I think it's a mix, I've always been able to punch hard but I think with strength and conditioning I can sustain it.

I now have much better coordination to throw the punches and they are more effective.

Do you do a lot of weights in the gym?

I do full body workouts and never really go and work on just one muscle in one particular day.

I will go and do stuff like deadlifts and squats, but I can't give too much of my regime away.

How has that training regime changed over the years?

It just gets more and more difficult, I used to find it very hard when I first started, now I look back at what I used to do and laugh.

Probably in a few years it will be the same and I will look back at this and think I had it easy. As time moves on, you are doing more rounds, longer runs, becoming stronger, faster and being able to sustain more damage.

When did you first realise you could punch hard?

NXTGEN hits York Hall
NXTGEN hits York Hall

Lawrence Okolie will fight on Friday as part of the NXTGEN series of boxing

It was the first time that I dropped someone in sparring, he was a police officer and a right hand sent him down, I had never done it before and it just felt right and I went hunting for it.

Are you surprised by your own power?

Not so much, I don't consider myself the biggest puncher in the weight or in the world, I do know that when I hit the pads that there is power there compared to other people though.

It is still shocking how people react when I hit them, I almost find it scary and think surely I can't be the only person in the world who can do this. I know soon I will have to take the same sort of power as I can give.

Do you expect that power to improve with time?

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Lawrence Okolie destroyed Russ Henshaw inside a round to make it four first-round stoppages in a row

We have tests on my power and it is still getting better. I still don't see myself as a one-punch concussive puncher, more just one punch and you're down.

We are working on things so that once I hit you, the fight is over instantly.

You fight again this Friday, will it be another knockout?

Yes, you will see a knockout, I'll be modest but in reality it's a fight where either I go or they go, I don't believe someone can survive eight rounds with what I'm going to bring.

Watch the NXTGEN card involving Buatsi, Okolie, Benn, Cordina and more, live from York Hall on Friday, via our live stream and Facebook live and on Sky Sports Action, from 7.45pm.

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