Tony Bellew: Lawrence Okolie the 'favourite' against Mairis Briedis and Ilunga Makabu

'The Sauce' is targeting a unification fight with IBF world cruiserweight champion Mairis Briedis next…

Tony Bellew has recognised that Mairis Briedis and Ilunga Makabu are both great fighters, but he expects Lawrence Okolie to beat both of them.

Last weekend, Okolie fought Krzysztof Glowacki for the vacant WBO world cruiserweight title. After just 16 pro fights, this was the Brit's toughest bout to date.

Glowacki is a two-time world champion and he is still a dangerous challenge for any cruiserweight around today.

But Okolie made easy work of the Polish fighter on Saturday night. 'The Sauce' controlled the early going before he downed Glowacki with a vicious right hand in the sixth round.

Ahead of the fight, Okolie made it clear that he had his eyes set on unifying the cruiserweight division. He reaffirmed this during his post-fight interview with Sky Sports:

"I feel like I would like to fight someone like Briedis next. I think out of the champions, Briedis is the one that I would most like to go in next with.

"That would be unified in 17 fights and 42 career fights. Obviously, any champion that Eddie can get, but the one I would be looking for is Briedis."

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Bellew - who was the WBO world cruiserweight champion between 2016 and 2017 - told Sky Sports, as cited by Boxing Scene, that Okolie is "evolving" as a fighter:

"Briedis is a difficult fight. Briedis is no mug. He's very clever on the inside, he will come with a game plan. That's a different prospect altogether than what he's faced in Glowacki tonight.

"Ilunga Makabu is also very, very dangerous. Hard hitting southpaw. I know all about his power, he really can punch, so that's another dangerous fight.

"But listen, I make him the favourite in each of the fights, purely based on his style, his power and how he's imposing himself. His style is evolving and what he's doing is getting better with each and every fight."

Tony Bellew backs Lawrence Okolie to beat Mairis Briedis

Okolie went into his world title fight with Glowacki full of confidence. This was slightly concerning as it could have easily backfired for him on the night.

Thankfully, he was able to back up all of this confidence as he decimated the former world champion at The SSE Arena.

Glowacki certainly has the tools to trouble Okolie, but the latter did not allow him to get into his groove. 'The Sauce' was in complete control of the fight before he stopped his opponent with a lethal right hook.

This is made all the more impressive that this was only his sixteenth professional fight. He is improving every time he steps into the ring and he is only looking up from here.

As Bellew says, Briedis and Makabu are top-level fighters in their own right. But going off Okolie's performance against Glowacki, you have to feel that he is capable of beating both of them.

Okolie's story is extraordinary and he continues to prove his naysayers wrong as he thrives as a cruiserweight. You would expect him to do the same as a heavyweight as well...

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