Lawrence Okolie says he is “disappointed” that his world title fight has fallen through, but insists he has renewed motivation, ahead of his clash with Nikodem Jezewski on Saturday.
Okolie was set to battle for the vacant WBO Cruiserweight world title in just his 15th professional fight against former world champion Krzysztof Glowacki, however the Pole tested positive for COVID-19.
Glowacki’s compatriot Jezewski has been drafted in at late notice, however the title remains unlikely to be at stake, with the 29-year-old not ranked in the top 15 by the WBO.
Okolie, 27, who faces Jezewski on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s Heavyweight world title defence against Kubrat Pulev, admits he was initially disappointed to hear the news, but says he has added motivation knowing that a defeat would shatter his hopes of a world title shot.
“Of course it’s disappointing potentially not boxing for a world title,” Okolie said on a Media Zoom call on Tuesday.
“But ultimately I still have a fight to win, I’m blessed to still actually have a fight anyway.
“The guy that I boxed last [Yves] Ngabu for the European title, just to become European champion, then I became mandatory or whatever it was, I got called to box for the world title.
“But now that is a fight away, so now I have to win this one to win a world title shot, as opposed to the world title shot just landing.
“I feel even more motivated, because winning the world title it’s amazing, but I was already there, but now it’s like you’re almost a step back, you have to win this one to now be in the world title fight.”
The winner of the fight is expected to face Glowacki in 2021 for the world title, barring any late change from the WBO and the Brit believes he will face an even more driven opponent, who can set up an all-Polish showdown with victory.
“The guy is Polish as well and he’s motivated,” Okolie added.
“I can tell, I can see from Twitter, he’s motivated because he wants that all-Polish fight to happen for him for the world title, so I have to take that away from him.”
Watch the full interview with Lawrence below where he discusses the improvements he’s made under Shane McGuigan, the significance of avoiding any complacency and reveals his immediate reaction to hearing his clash with Glowacki was abandoned: