Okolie barely breaks a sweat as he breezes past Prasovic

Lawrence Okolie effortlessly despatched Dilan Prasovic in three rounds to retain his WBO cruiserweight championship on the Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk undercard at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Saturday evening.

It was the first defence of the title Okolie (17-0, 13 KOs) won in superb fashion in March when he stopped former champion Krzysztof Glowacki. Okolie really announced himself on that occasion and his mandatory challenger Prasovic (15-1, 12 KOs) certainly wasn’t the man to derail Okolie.

It was a cagey start; however, Okolie began to find his range in the second, as the right hand ripped through the Montenegrin’s shaky guard. Prasovic was down in the second from one of those right hands, although it did appear to land around the back of his head. He also took one flush towards the end of the session.

It was all over in the third round, as Okolie ended it with a left hand to the body from which Prasovic failed to rise. The challenger did well to evade a right that came flying in from the champion; however, he got caught under Okolie’s arm, staggered and was defenceless for the follow-up left hand which signalled the end of his evening.

In his first fight since a points defeat to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez last December, Callum Smith returned to action with a new trainer in Buddy McGirt and at a new weight as he made his light-heavyweight debut. In the opposite corner was Lenin Castillo from the Dominican Republic, who had previously challenged WBA champion Dmitry Bivol back in 2019.

As expected, it was a short evening for Smith, now 28-1, 20 KOs, who wiped out Castillo (21-4-1, 16 KOs) in the second round with a sickening right hand, leaving him twitching on the canvas and eventually stretchered from the ring. It was an uncomfortable scene after the fight and immediate thoughts are with Castillo. Smith will no doubt be back in action soon.

Campbell Hatton continued his progress under the bright lights and it was safe to say he got away with one, as he moved to 4-0 with a 58-57 points win over Sonni Martinez.

Martinez, now 2-5, gave Hatton all he could handle and plenty of lessons to take back to Manchester, but it was ‘The Hurricane’ who left with the win, according to referee Marcus McDonnell. 

Hatton has been thrown in at the deep end fighting on big cards, combined with the added pressure of carrying the family name, and even he looked shocked when the result was announced. Martinez can rightly consider himself hard done by.

Earlier in the evening, London-based Albanian Florian Marku improved to 9-0-1, 6 KOs after claiming the IBF International welterweight title with a split decision victory over Maxim Prodan. Marku was awarded the win 97-93 and 96-94 on two of the cards, whilst the third judge somehow scored it 99-91 in favour of Prodan, who loses his unbeaten record and slips to 19-1-1, 15 KOs. 

Meanwhile, before the televised portion of the card got underway, Christopher Ousley claimed the WBA’s vacant Inter-Continental middleweight strap with a majority decision win over Khasan Baysangurov, 97-94 twice and 95-95 on the cards. The American, who is managed by 258MGT, is now 13-0, 9 KOs, whilst former world title challenger Baysangurov falls to 21-2, 11 KOs.

Main image: Eddie Keogh/Matchroom Boxing.