Boxers, Trainers & Pundits
Watkins vs Okolie: Lawrence Okolie faces Luke Watkins and The Panel have made their predictions
Last Updated: 06/06/18 9:42pm
Ahead of Lawrence Okolie's Commonwealth title clash with Luke Watkins, we asked The Panel of experts to pick a winner.
Okolie challenges Watkins for the Commonwealth cruiserweight belt on Wednesday night's JD NXTGEN bill at York Hall, live on Sky Sports.
Both fighters carry unbeaten records and genuine knockout power, but who will emerge triumphant when the first bell rings?
The Panel have given their verdict...
Watkins has used a certain tactic to win before, which is when he misses he holds, but I am not sure that is just his style. We will see what happens on Wednesday and if he's as good people say he is - it all depends on this fight.
From what I've seen from Luke Watkins, he is a late starter and we know Okolie comes out of the blocks fast.
I can probably see Okolie stopping him, just because of his awkwardness and range. From what I've seen from Luke Watkins, he is a late starter and we know Okolie comes out of the blocks fast. If it goes that way, I see Okolie finishing in the first six rounds.
I picked Isaac Chamberlain over Okolie last time, because I thought Chamberlain can box and thought he'd make Okolie over-reach then counter him, but he just froze. Well, if Watkins can close that range without taking those big bombs on the way in, then he has a great chance.
I genuinely don't know who is going to win. This is one of those 50-50 fights that is going to be good.
But Okolie's sheer size, his length and awkwardness is a massive attribute to have. I am not one for sitting on the fence, but I genuinely don't know who is going to win. This is one of those 50-50 fights that is going to be good.
He's a big, gangly fighter, and he can look exciting doing that, but he does go right hand happy.
Watkins will come and have a go. I just feel Okolie will catch him. If I was Okolie, I would go and establish that jab straight away from the centre. Tire him out with that, and then start letting those big right hands go. He's a big, gangly fighter, and he can look exciting doing that, but he does go right hand happy.
If he comes up against someone who can punch, they are going to find that out straight away, and they are going to counter him, and that's where he will get hurt. But I don't believe Watkins has got it in him to hurt him. I could be wrong, but I think Okolie will stop him between seven and nine rounds.
With Okolie, his name and his backing, he has it all to lose.
Watkins sparred with me and I know he's a good, tough, durable kid and actually decent on the inside. He is the champion, but he needs a break-out fight, and he is the one who has it all to gain, while with Okolie, his name and his backing, he has it all to lose.
Okolie is so much bigger and probably stronger, and the one big worry Watkins has is that he can get caught by too many rights. We know Okolie has a big right so I am going for him, and I don't see it going the distance. If Watkins can stay switched on and get past the first four or five, he will make him work for the win.
Okolie is much taller, has the longer range, and hits hard with his right.
I think Watkins' style is made for Okolie. He is tough and can whack a bit with the right, but he hasn't mixed with any real class, so even though he is Commonwealth champion, this is a big step up.
Okolie is much taller, has the longer range, and hits hard with his right. On top of that, Watkins sits in the pocket too long and carries that left low, which spells trouble against someone like Okolie. Watkins is durable and it might take him a few rounds to suss him out, but Okolie gets the job done, inside the distance.
Watch Lawrence Okolie against Luke Watkins, along with a packed JD NXTGEN bill featuring Reece Bellotti, Ted Cheeseman, Daniyar Yeleussinov and more at York Hall on Wednesday from 7pm on Sky Sports Action.