Yesterday, the WBO officially ordered Lawrence Okolie to defend his cruiserweight title against David Light, who edged out Brandon Glanton in a final eliminator over the weekend. While this usually comes with a negotiation period before a purse bid gets ordered, the sanctioning body announced today that they’ve already scheduled said bid for December 14th.
The reason: Okolie’s (18-0, 14 KO) ongoing contract dispute with Matchroom. He insists that their contract already expired, while Matchroom claims he’s on the hook for one more fight.WBO World Championship Committee Resolution
Upon issuance of the subject matter negotiation order, the WBO confirmed email communication by Mr. Themba Smith, on behalf of Team Okolie confirming receipt of the negotiation notice and advising that Matchroom Boxing was no longer Okolie’s promoter. Consequently, Mr. Smith requested that the WBO refrain from including Matchroom in any further correspondence pertaining to Okolie/Light. Thereafter, the WBO received an email response from Mr. Shaun Palmer, on behalf of Matchroom Boxing asserting that Okolie and Matchroom are parties to a pending dispute resolution process and in order to preserve the legal status quo, Matchroom should remain informed on matters pertaining to Okolie.
In response to Matchroom’s position, Mr. Smith replied via email and argued that the referenced dispute resolution process relates to a promotional agreement that allegedly expired, and in considering the foregoing, Matchroom should have no right to be involved in any correspondence relating to Okolie.
Shortly thereafter, Mr. Shaun Palmer responded via email to Mr. Smith’s position arguing that pending the final determination of the dispute resolution proceedings, Matchroom puts a notice on all parties and advised that their legal rights are reserved and will take appropriate actions to protect such rights. Lastly, Mr. Smith on behalf of Okolie responded to Mr. Palmer’s final communication stating that there is no dispute as to the legal controversy and advised the WBO that Team Okolie will not include Matchroom Boxing copied or informed going forward and will be removing Matchroom from the email chain.
Okolie compared Eddie Hearn to a plantation owner earlier this year, which was not what you might call a shrewd business move. Sure, his career needed a kick in the pants after February’s slopfest with Michal Cieslak smothered the goodwill he’d generated by thumping Krzysztof Glowacki, but those kicks aren’t supposed to come from the front.
His trainer, Shane McGuigan, later dropped some euphemisms that suggested the 29-year-old isn’t training as seriously as he should be.
Light (20-0, 12 KO) was the B-side against Glanton and was by all accounts fortunate to get the nod, which bodes ill for his chances against Okolie. Still, if the out-of-ring rumblings are anything to go by, this may be the best chance he’ll ever have of topping “The Sauce.”