Lawrence Okolie stopped mandatory challenger Dilan Prasovic in the third round today in London, retaining the WBO cruiserweight title in his first defense of the belt he won back in March.
Okolie (17-0, 14 KO) dropped the clearly over-matched Prasovic (15-1, 12 KO) late in the second round, and caught him with a thudding right to the head after, but Prasovic did make it out of that round.
He did not last through the third, though, as a body shot put him down, and the Montenegro native took the 10 count. It didn’t look like that great of a body shot, but he was the one who got hit with it, not me, so I’ll leave my opinion at that.
Okolie, 28, has stated that he wants to unify at cruiserweight before moving up to heavyweight, and his main target is IBF titleholder Mairis Briedis, the man everyone sees as the top cruiserweight in the world at the moment. Briedis had stated his own desire to move up to heavyweight, but will be fighting on Oct. 16 in Latvia, facing Artur Mann in a fight that might not look any different than this one did.
“I want Brieidis, because he’s ranked No. 1 and has the most accomplishments,” Okolie said. “Beating him would make me No. 1. He’s the one I’m most after, but whichever one they can get me, I’ll take.”
There is also Ilunga Junior Makabu, who has the WBC belt and last fought in Dec. 2020, and also has some sort of contract with Don King, or at least did last I knew. That puts him in a no-fly zone for most promoters at this point, unfortunately. The WBA title is held by Arsen Goulamirian, who also has a King contract last I knew, and hasn’t fought since Dec. 2019.
Campbell Hatton PTS-6 Sonny Martinez
This was a robbery, a 58-57 score awarded by referee Marcus McDonnell, who has to have known it was a bad score. I don’t think Mr. McDonnell is a fool or a dunce. We scored this 59-55 for Martinez, a visiting club fighter from Uruguay, and the closest I think you could have seen it was 58-56 for Martinez. Hatton had no argument.
That’s not just me, either; every TV pundit on DAZN — Darren Barker, Tony Bellew, and Roy Jones Jr — called the result the same thing, as did Josh Taylor working on Sky Sports, I’ve heard.
“I think he lost. I’m not going to lie,” Tony Bellew said. “It’s one of those ones where you kind of know it’s coming.”
Hatton (4-0, 0 KO) has never been any blue chip prospect despite his last name. You can see he’s a game young fighter, working hard, trying his best, but the talent level just doesn’t seem to be there. Conor Benn, another second generation fighter, came into boxing in similar circumstances, but had more raw athleticism, power, speed, etc. and had an upside you could see even in shakier outings. He’s made himself a legitimate rising prospect.
Does Hatton have that upside? Not that anyone can see in four fights, if we’re all being honest. And while I understand Eddie Hearn’s position, because I believe it, too, that it’s unfair to be overly critical of a young lad learning his trade, the other reality is that putting him in high-visibility spots like this one makes that criticism inevitable. You’ve got everyone watching him, he’s not stuck on a Facebook or YouTube stream before the main card. You’re giving him primo spots. I get why, as he has a valuable name and could become a ticket seller, but you take the bad with the good, then. And the bad is that people are seeing him in performances like this one.
Martinez is now 2-5 (0 KO), and it’s a shame because he’s almost certainly just never going to get the opportunity to have his hand raised in a massive stadium like this again, which is what he deserved today. Sonni Martinez won this fight.