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Lawrence Okolie eyes move up in weight as he plots world championship comeback: ‘He can really let the shackles off’ | Boxing News

Lawrence Okolie will return looking to reclaim a world title.

The former WBO cruiserweight champion is considering a move up in weight, BOXXER promoter Ben Shalom has told Sky Sports.

In a wild fight last year Okolie lost his title to Chris Billam-Smith at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth.

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Chris Billam-Smith relives world title victory against Lawrence Okolie and shares the emotions he felt during the biggest night of his career

He hasn’t boxed since that contest in May, but potentially could still return in world title fight.

“I think we’re going to look to move up to heavyweight or fight immediately for a world title at bridgerweight,” BOXXER’s Ben Shalom told Sky Sports.

After an unconvincing outing against David Light and then defeat to Billam-Smith, a move up in weight could be just what Okolie needs, suggests Shalom.

“The reason his performances haven’t been at the level he was used to is, I do think, the weight, as a 6’6 guy. This is personal opinion, and especially at that top level, [that] was getting in the way of his very best performances,” the promoter explained.

“I think he’s looking very seriously at the heavyweight division, possibly bridgerweight first and I think that’s where we’re going to see Lawrence in the latter stages of his career.

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Cruiserweight contender Richard Riakporhe says he welcomes a fight with domestic rival Lawrence Okolie down the line

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“He’s a really talented fighter and so I just think the story hasn’t even begun for Lawrence Okolie. Cast your mind back to cruiserweights Oleksandr Usyk and David Haye and people that have really made their legacy in the heavyweight division.

“He’s a lot bigger than those guys. His frame’s a lot bigger, he’s had to work extremely hard to do what he’s done in the cruiserweight division and sometimes fighters don’t talk about the struggles they go through.

“The Lawrence Okolie story is just about to begin and I think it’s going to be at a weight division that suits where he’s at.”

Making that move, Shalom believes, will command attention.

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Chris Billam-Smith sent the hometown crowd wild as he delivered Lawrence Okolie’s first knockdown of his professional career

“He’s still a huge name, he’s still a huge personality. There aren’t many boxers who can walk down the street and people know who they are and Lawrence is one of them,” the promoter said.

“Whatever people may say about his last couple of performances he’s a big name, he’s a big personality, he’s a big talent.

“There are not many big names in British boxing that are still coming through. That’s why the world is at his feet. I know that might be hard to see when you lose your world title.

“But when you’re performing not at your best and you’re working that hard to make the weight, you might look back and say you know what it was a blessing in disguise.

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“He can really let the shackles off and go again.”

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