The ongoing dispute between Lawrence Okolie and Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom has taken another turn.
Okolie, who has made it clear that he wants to leave the promotional company, has been out of the ring since February of this year. The 18-0 WBO World Champion was recently called to face the also undefeated David Light.
The fight, given the ongoing promotional dispute, was scheduled for purse bids. However it has now been announced, as per Boxing Scene, that Boxxer and Ben Shalom have successfully campaigned to stage the fight on Sky Sports before the bidding process could begin.
The WBO Championship Committee’ chairman, Luis Batista-Salas, detailed the matter in a letter to all parties.
“The WBO World Championship Committee acknowledged receipt of correspondence from Team Okolie’s legal representative Mr. Mohit Pasricha whereby Okolie confirmed in writing that his team had reached an agreement with Team David Light pertaining to the ordered subject matter mandatory bout.
Also, the Committee confirmed receipt of correspondence on behalf of Team David Light confirming the agreement between the parties.
According to the fighters, through their representatives, the bout will be promoted by “Boxxer” and will take place on Saturday, March 11, 2023, in London, United Kingdom.”
The WBO’s resolution noted that Okolie’s lawyer, Themba Smith, requested Hearn’s company to be excluded from correspondence. Matchroom disputed this.
“The WBO confirmed email communication by Mr. Themba Smith, on behalf of Team Okolie confirming receipt of the negotiation notice and advising that Matchroom Boxing was no longer Okolie’s promoter. Consequently, Mr. Smith requested that the WBO refrain from including Matchroom in any further correspondence pertaining to Okolie/Light.”
“Thereafter, the WBO received an email response from Mr. Shaun Palmer, on behalf of Matchroom Boxing asserting that Okolie and Matchroom are parties to a pending dispute resolution process and in order to preserve the legal status quo, Matchroom should remain informed on matters pertaining to Okolie.”
Finally, Okolie confirmed his intention to work with Shalom and Boxxer, not copying in Matchroom who were later informed of the words by the WBO.
“Please accept this as confirmation that I have come to an agreement with Ben Shalom/Boxxer to box David Light in London on the 11th March 2023.”
The decision represents movement in an ongoing back and forth that looked unlikely to find a resolution any time soon. Okolie’s side seemingly believe that their legal position – which is refuting Matchroom’s claim of the fighter having one bout left on his contract – is strong enough to go ahead and work with Boxxer.
Given the public nature of the spat so far, more is expected soon. Okolie seemed to comment on the matter on Twitter with a wink.
😉. Locked in
— Lawrence Okolie (@Lawrence_tko) December 22, 2022