Lawrence Okolie knocks out Lukasz Rozanski in the first round and becomes WBC bridgeweight world champion | boxing news

Lawrence Okolie made an emphatic return to action by knocking out Lukasz Rozanski in the first round to win the WBC world bridgeweight title in Poland on Friday night.

The victory makes Okolie a two-weight world champion as he fought for the first time since relinquishing his WBO cruiserweight belt in a loss to Chris Billam-Smith last May.

Okolie moves to 20-1 as a professional in his latest move up the heavyweight division, while for Rozanski it marked the first loss of his career.

The Hackney fighter dropped Rozanski three times in quick and brutal fashion, the last of which ultimately caused the referee to wave off the contest as the home favorite struggled to get back to his feet.

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Lawrence Okolie called his victory over Lukasz Rozanski his best moment in boxing

“This was the best boxing moment for me, I’m super happy,” Okolie said. “New weight, returning the KO to Okolie.

“Sometimes I think people are joking, I say I’ll go in there in the first round and try to get the knockout. I went out and did it.

“Joe Gallagher, I take my hat off to him, I hated him throughout training camp, every day there was something more, but every day he was there for me.

“I hated every second of it, but today made it all worth it.”

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George Groves believes Deontay Wilder could consider facing Lawrence Okolie in the future if he doesn’t see a clear path to another world heavyweight title fight.

A trip to Poland has been touted as a possible opportunity for Okolie as he attempts to regain some momentum in his career, with Rozanski hoping as a dangerous full-speed fighter who had stunned Alen Babic in a round last year.

All week, Okolie promised to exploit his opponent’s aggression, and he did so with immediate effect when he landed a couple of early warning shots with a ferocious forehand in the opening exchanges.

It didn’t take long to make the breakthrough, Okolie sending Rozanski to the canvas with a right hand to the 38-year-old’s face.

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Joe Gallagher wants Lawrence Okolie to unify the WBC and WBA bridgeweight world titles and then face each other

Rozanski recovered quickly before crumbling under another blow straight to the ropes, this time almost managing to beat the count.

The third time was the charm and the best shot ever, Okolie finished things off with a devastating uppercut to leave Rozanski on his hands and knees tangled between the ropes.

Referee Daniel Van de Wiele had seen enough and quickly concluded the match to crown Okolie champion before a hushed Polish crowd.

“My last fight was a great experience when I realized what it’s like to feel alone in the ring (against Billam-Smith),” Okolie said.

“I didn’t feel alone, I felt like I wanted to win for the team. We came and did it.”

Kevin Lerena is now waiting as a potential mandatory fight for Okolie should he decide to stay at bridgeweight, and trainer Joe Gallagher is keen to see him unify before making the eventual step up to heavyweight.

“I’d like to see a unification, there’s a WBA unification fight there,” Gallagher said.

“There are smaller heavyweights like Deontay Wilder, Lawrence is in those kind of weights.

“It has to be a natural progression, but I would like to see him unify this first.

“He is full of energy and will be able to return to the gym on Monday.”

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