Lawrence Okolie will return to action in the first quarter of 2023; Okolie makes a mandatory defence of the WBO cruiserweight title against New Zealand's unbeaten David Light; BOXXER will promote the bout in the UK in March, live on Sky Sports
Thursday 22 December 2022 17:37, UK
WBO cruiserweight champion Lawrence Okolie is set to return after nearly a year out of boxing.
Okolie hasn't boxed since dropping and outscoring Michal Cieslak in February. But the heavy puncher from Hackney is now set to defend his WBO cruiserweight title in the UK early in 2023.
The WBO had instructed Okolie, now 18-0, to make a mandatory defence of the belt against New Zealand's David Light.
Light, a Commonwealth Games silver medallist, earned his shot at the world title going unbeaten in the 20 fights of his professional career so far.
On Thursday the WBO announced that Okolie and Light have reached an agreement between their teams. The fighters requested the cancellation of the purse bids for their contest which had been scheduled for Thursday. That request has been granted.
Their teams have agreed that promoter BOXXER will stage the contest in March in the UK.
"BOXXER is delighted to confirm it will be promoting the WBO world cruiserweight title fight between Lawrence Okolie and challenger David Light. More details, including a venue for the contest, will follow in due course," a spokesperson for BOXXER said.
It will bring another exciting cruiserweight contest to Sky Sports.
Winning the WBO championship last year against Krzysztof Glowacki in a dominant performance, Okolie has defended the belt twice in his rapid rise. He has established himself as the leading cruiserweight in the UK.
But other exciting rivals are jockeying for position and looking to challenge for major honours themselves next year.
Fellow Londoner Richard Riakporhe has picked up two quality knockout victories this year, halting Deion Jumah and Fabio Turchi. He will box next month, taking on former champion Glowacki on the Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Smith undercard. He wants that fight to set him up for a title shot himself.
Chris Billam-Smith scored a thrilling knockout win against Armend Xhoxhaj last weekend, also on Sky Sports. With a tremendous fanbase in Bournemouth, he is determined to bring a world title fight to his hometown.
Cruiserweight is shaping up to be one of the most exciting divisions in British boxing in 2023.