Okolie vs Chamberlain: Lawrence Okolie and Isaac Chamberlain are brutally honest about each other
Last Updated: 31/01/18 12:35pm
Just days away from their grudge fight, we asked Lawrence Okolie and Isaac Chamberlain for brutally honest opinions about each other...
The cruiserweight duo will finally settle their bitter feud this Saturday night at The O2, live on Sky Sports, after weeks of heated words between the fellow Londoners.
But what does Hackney's Okolie really think about Brixton rival Chamberlain? We dug a bit deeper as the two fighters were asked to analyse their opponent and a crucial night for their careers...
Who is under the most pressure?
Okolie: Both of us are under pressure. I've been under pressure every single time I fight. It's that same amount of pressure I'm under now to win. In terms of the occasion, I've always had people rooting for me, wishing me good luck, because I've always had a profile since the Olympic times.
For him, this is the first time he's going to deal with people wishing him luck on this level. But I think he will be able to handle it well. I don't want him to freeze up and I take him out in round one. I want it to be a good fight.
Chamberlain: I think Lawrence is under the most pressure because he's the Olympian, he's the one that's supposed to be at that stage and do all of that stuff. They say he is the favourite for the fight, so of course, all the pressure is on him.
Will he cope with it? I don't know, because certain things he says, he really contradicts himself. He says he's going to knock me out in one round, then he says it's going to be a great fight and a war for the fans. Which one is it?
Are you expecting him to make a big entrance at The O2?
I think he will come into something with the message of 'started from the bottom now we're here.' Some nonsense like that.
Chamberlain: He's going to come out to 'Penny Bois' cr*p that no-one even knows about. Everyone in the crowd is going to be 'what the heck is this?'
What about your walk-in?
Okolie: It's a big surprise. It could be no music. I could come out to just silence. If there's a rapper, it has to be one that I respect, or has a message that I want to get across. If not, then it's all about me.
Everybody knows it, the whole crowd is going to go crazy. There's going to be some motivational quotes at the start as well, get everyone riled up, and then boom it's going to be mad.
Do you respect him as a fighter?
Okolie: Absolutely. The more that I have studied him and my team have studied him, the more respect I have for him. Initially, when I looked at him, I thought you know what, he's just a little kid and I'm going to go in there, two rounds, three rounds, take him out.
But the more we analyse him, we realise that it's his character that makes him a better fighter. He's not really the strongest, the toughest, but what he's got is good mental fortitude.
You don't go to the Olympics for nothing. He's worked hard to get to where he is, but he's been obviously gifted a lot of things. That doesn't really matter. All that matters is me getting that win.
Do you respect him as a person?
Okolie: Yes, because he decided to fight. The stuff I don't like is in person, he's very smiley, happy, but on social media he's the big man in that he'll post tweets of how I look. He'll show stuff of me being hurt in the past.
I'm just hoping that the Chamberlain on social media shows up on fight night and not the Chamberlain that we see in interviews and press conferences.
Chamberlain: No. He's just an idiot. The way he is, he's just arrogant, he just goes around like he's better than everyone. If he looks down at me, that's going to be a bad mistake, because I'll be looking down at him when he's on the canvas.
Is he fake or real?
I will find out on the night, because if he's for real we have a good fight. If he's fake, it's over extremely quickly.
Chamberlain: We're about to find out on February 3, in front of thousands of people, and people watching on TV.
What are his weaknesses?
You guys will all experience it with me. You will see the weakness. We know, me and my team, we know the weaknesses and we're going to exploit that on fight night.
Okolie: He hasn't lost yet, so it's hard to tell, but I think some of his greatest strengths are some of his greatest weaknesses and that will show on the night.
One of his greatest attributes is his mindset, so he has got this warrior persona, which is going to show itself, and that's going to be part of the reason for his undoing.
How hard does he punch?
Chamberlain: To be honest, if you're watching 'Coronation Street' on TV with Nik Naks on your belly, and you get a phone call: "Do you want to fight Lawrence Okolie tomorrow?" Are you really prepared? You're not prepared.
You are going to be dropping your building stuff and going to fight tomorrow, going to get knocked out by this guy who has been training for six weeks. It's different when it's a person who has been training to take punches in sparring and all of those things.
Okolie: Anyone can hit hard one time, throw a massive shot and take anyone out. But I think consistently he's an average puncher for the weight.
He's not a monster puncher, but he punches hard enough to gain people's respect, otherwise people would just walk through him. Not as hard a puncher as me.
What is the ideal ending to the fight?
Okolie: My ideal finish is the first punch in the first round. I had to really sit down with [trainer] Brian [O'Shaughnessy] and the team to let them know seriously what we're going to do, because he is adamant that I'm going to chin him viciously.
But we have physically and mentally trained for the hard rounds, because I know regardless of who I was boxing, if I was boxing a 10 or 12 rounder I need to be in 10 or 12 round shape. It's either going to be a short, explosive night, or it's going to have to be a fight of stages.
Chamberlain: Knocking him out, as simple as that. We're going to stick to the tactics and the game plan that my uncle [Ted Bami] has thought of and just win the rounds, eventually catch him and knock him out.
Will you treat yourself to some British Beef after you win?
Okolie: I actually don't eat meat, so I'll treat myself to a burger for sure, but a different type.
Chamberlain: You know what, for this one Nando's have organised a little presentation thing for after the fight. Forget beef, it's all about chicken.
Watch Lawrence Okolie vs Isaac Chamberlain, from The O2, London, Saturday, February 3, live on Sky Sports Main Event & Action.