British trainer of the year nominee, Shane McGuigan, has confirmed his split from WBO cruiserweight champion Lawrence Okolie, after the boxer’s move to Dubai.
Okolie won the WBO title in 2021, knocking out Krzysztof Glowacki in the sixth round of their contest, however since then ‘The Sauce’ has fought just twice.
In an interview with Boxing Social, McGuigan revealed that the former Olympian is now training with SugarHill Steward, coach of WBC heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury, as Okolie seeks to improve his activity in 2023.
“He has given up his UK residency, he is living out in Dubai and stuff. That was always going to be quite a big obstacle for us to overcome, there is absolutely no hard feelings with me and Lawrence, I wish him all the best.
I think he is out doing some work in Florida with SugarHill [Steward], it is not like he is going to be training himself, he is going to try and get himself with a good coach and maybe we could work together again in the future.”
Okolie subsequently made it public that SugarHill was his new trainer.
🤝 Lawrence Okolie has announced SugarHill Steward as his new trainer
Go Free, Exclusively With Boxing Social at Village Gym https://t.co/cFjfqMiAxTpic.twitter.com/8xqwEaXwS3
— Boxing Social (@boxing_social) February 3, 2023
The Londoner has teased a move to the heavyweight division and whilst there are plenty of fights to be made against fellow British cruiserweights, Okolie has shown his frustration at inactivity.
Up next for Okolie is a third defence of his WBO world title, over a year on from his last fight. He takes on his mandatory challenger in the form of undefeated New-Zealander David Light, but will do so without McGuigan, who has been in his corner since 2019.
“For now, I’ve got a five-month-old baby, I’ve got seven fighters in the gym who are about to fight for a world title. I can’t just lift people and say “right, we are going out to train abroad for six weeks”, it would be a massive expense for everyone else. We tried our best to come to a solution, but it was his decision to move out to Dubai and I wish him all the best.”
Okolie has also split from his promoter, Matchroom Boxing, and will instead fight David Light on Sky Sports with Boxxer, on a one-fight-deal. The clash is scheduled for March 11th, with an undercard and location yet to be announced.