Okolie Cruises To Victory In First World Title Defence On AJ Vs Usyk Undercard

'The Sauce', Campbell Hatton, Callum Smith and Florian Marku all emerged victorious at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
21:19, 25 Sep 2021

The first defence of Lawrence Okolie’s WBO cruiserweight crown ended swiftly on the undercard of Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with ‘The Sauce’ cruised to victory inside just three rounds against Dilan Prasovic 

It was one-way traffic from the opening bell in north London and the Hackney-fighter dropped the Montenegrin in the second with a big right hand. Prasovic nearly went over again after being on the receiving end of another vicious right but was saved by the bell. 

Any chance of the away fighter springing a shock evaporated in the third stanza when a crunching body shot put the challenger to the canvas for a third and final time.

"I grew into the fight,” Okolie, who moves to 17-0, told Sky Sports. 

"For me, the better the person in front of me, the better the performance.

"This guy tried to spoil but the other champions try to win."

Campbell Hatton, son of British boxing legend Ricky, extended his unbeaten start to his professional career to 4-0 but was made to work against a very game Sonni Martinez. The Spanish-based Uruguayan brought the fight to Hatton and absolutely gave the 20-year-old his toughest test to date and to many watching on at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, did more than enough to win.

Hatton, fighting his first six-rounder, looked to have been outboxed and outclassed by the South American, and a first career defeat looked inevitable, however he got the win by a dubious 58-57 referee points decision.

Eddie Keogh/Matchroom
Eddie Keogh/Matchroom

"I'm not happy with my performance at all. I'm better than that. It's a big occasion with big pressure,” Hatton told Sky Sports. 

"There are positives and definitely negatives."

Callum Smith made a winning start to life at light-heavyweight and under the guidance of new trainer Buddy McGirt after stopping Lenin Castillo inside two rounds. 

‘Mundo’ lost his unbeaten record and WBA super-middleweight title last time out, losing to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez on the cards in Texas in December, but the Liverpudlian bounced back emphatically, becoming the first man to stop Castillo with a devastating one-punch KO. The man from the Dominican Republic had to receive medical attention, but thankfully is reported to have regained consciousness and was taken to hospital for precautionary measures. 

In the night’s first fight, Florian Marku came out on top via a split decision on the scorecards after 10 rounds in an absorbing welterweight encounter with Maxim Prodan. The Albanian southpaw clinched the IBF international 147lbs title with a thoroughly professional performance, and the former kickboxer’s work with the jab was particularly effective. The 28-year-old moves to 9-0-1 as a result.

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