Eddie Hearn has responded to recent comments from world cruiserweight champion Laurence Okolie that hint at a fractious relationship between the once close duo.
Uncertainty has circled around the Cruiserweight World Champion’s promotional situation of late, despite having one more fight left on his contract with Matchroom. Although Okolie hasn’t referenced Hearn by name in any of his comments on the subject, it’s widely assumed he is who’s being addressed.
Speaking to iFL TV, the promoter gave his side of the story.
“I will never let someone take the p*ss out of the job and the loyalty that we have delivered for them – and ultimately, we have done the most unbelievable job for Lawrence Okolie.
At times, when he hasn’t delivered in the ring, we’ve backed him, we’ve kept going and we’ve kept pushing for the opportunities.
We got him. British, Commonwealth, European titles. We got him fighting on all the big stadium cards.”
Hearn defended Matchroom’s development of Okolie, stating how they and his manager, Anthony Joshua, pulled out large amounts of money for him to fight Krzysztof Glowacki for the world title and for the second defence of his crown, headlining against Michal Cieslak at the O2 Arena in February 2022.
This backing came despite Okolie, according to Hearn, not being a big earner for the company.
Earlier this week Okolie posted on social media saying he’s fallen out of love with the sport because of ‘dirty, lying, narcissistic individuals who run the sport.’ Hearn even admitted to calling the fighter up after one of his comments online.
“He’s got one fight left on his contract, I’m not prepared just to let people come in and interfere with that contract.
Every step of Okolie’s career I kept to my word and I delivered everything for him. We changed his life.
I phoned him up after he posted something and I said ‘what the f**k are you talking about’.”
Hearn did however give Okolie some credit regarding the fact that he has stepped up to the plate whenever Matchroom have provided him with such opportunities.
“One thing I’ll also say is he’s done unbelievably well, because he’s always stepped up in those fights and performed – and I can’t do that. That’s down to him.”
It is still unclear what ‘The Sauce’s next move will be. He currently has no defences of his WBO title booked in and has one fight left on his deal with the Essex-based firm.
Okolie has fought only three times since the start of last year, with his last performance a unanimous decision win over Cieslak in February. He was due to fight the ever talkative Maris Bredis in a unification before the Latvian lost his belts to Jai Opetaia in Australia in July.