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Lawrence Okolie says Lukasz Rozanski's 'hostile' crowd will fuel world title performance in Poland

Lawrence Okolie will look to become Britain's first bridgerweight world champion when he takes on Lukasz Rozanski in Rzesow, Poland on Friday night live on Sky Sports

Lawrence Okolie is out to become a two-weight world champion
Image: Lawrence Okolie is out to become a two-weight world champion

Lawrence Okolie vows to show he is a class above Lukasz Rozanski as he prepares to embrace a hostile atmosphere while challenging for the WBC bridgerweight world title in Poland on Friday night.

The former WBO cruiserweight world titleholder takes on Rozanski in the champion's hometown of Rzesow. Okolie says he's expecting a "hostile" reception when he arrives at the Podprommie Arena.

"I'm coming there to beat their guy," Okolie told Sky Sports.

"I'm expecting it to be very hostile but I'll just blank it out. If anything, this particular fight is going to fuel me, especially the way I feel like I need to and want to fight."

Rozanski boasts an impressive record of 14 knockouts from his 15 wins. His most recent victory saw him be named WBC world champion after knocking out Alen Babic in the first round. However, Okolie believes their bout will be a step up for the champion.

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Okolie's new coach Joe Gallagher says the pair have worked hard at eliminating the fighter's tendency to clinch during his fights, as he prepares for his WBC bridgerweight world title against Lukasz Rozanski

"He hasn't faced someone of my class and ability but at the end of the day, we don't know what he's capable of until the day.

"The fact is, you're not going to get 14 out of 15 wins by KO unless have something about you. So I've got to respect him, respect what he's good at and earn the right to stop him.

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"I know what he's going to come with, we've seen it 15 times, he goes all out, I'll show him he's in there with a different animal.

"I'm looking forward to the boos and getting in there and getting it done vicious."

The fight will be Okolie's first above the 200lb limit after moving up to the bridgerweight class. For Okolie, the change in weight class is an opportunity to perform with more power.

Okolie hit the scales at 101.4 kilos at Thursday's weigh-in, two ounces inside the bridgerweight limit in what he described as a 'completely different experience' to making weight at cruiserweight.

"I obviously have my own reasonings behind the change," he said.

"I think a lot of power has been lost in the gym, trying to make that cruiserweight limit.

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Okolie says new trainer Joe Gallagher will get the best out of him and Rozanski will pay the price

"My mindset was just, 'I don't care let me just get a win and another pay cheque' whereas now I'm in a situation where boxing is great and you get paid well on the day but it's not my main source of income anymore.

"So I just want to go in and be explosive. And if I'm going to put in all of this hard work and be away from my son I better have an explosive night and make it mean something."

Rozanski awaits as something of a knockout merchant, making a name for himself with lightning quick starts that have seen him stop 13 opponents in two rounds or less. His explosive approach, however, has also been deemed an opportunity for Okolie to showcase his own knockout talents.

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Okolie expects an aggressive start from Rozanski on Friday night but says the Polish bridgerweight champion is in for a big shock

Okolie's last fight ended in defeat, after losing his WBO cruiserweight title to Chris Billam-Smith in May 2023. Billam-Smith will defend the title at Selhurst Park on June 15th against Riakporhe, live on Sky Sports. Okolie backs Billam-Smith to win the fight.

"I think Chris will win," he said.

"It's a tough one, I think Chris will win as he's been on a more active run of form, he beat a world champion at the time in myself who's better than Riakporhe so I'd expect him to win.

"However, I think Riakporhe does obviously have good punch power Chris has got a lot of damage over his eye now which I think will play a factor in the fight. In his last fight, he looked very vulnerable until he landed the body shots to end it."

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