Betting preview: Lawrence Okolie to make light work of first title defence

Lawrence Okolie returns to action this weekend when he defends his WBO cruiserweight title against Montenegrin Dilan Prasovic on the undercard of Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk.

In what promises to be a wonderful night of boxing in front of 67,000 fans at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Okolie (16-0) makes the first defence of his world title against the relatively unknown but unbeaten Dilan Prasovic (15-0)

Okolie shot to world prominence earlier this year when he claimed a thrilling sixth round KO victory over former WBO champion Krzysztof Glowacki at the SSE Arena in London.

'The Sauce' - managed by AJ's 258 MGT - put on a boxing clinic on that night, outclassing his Polish opponent to claim an impressive victory and with it, his first world title.

Given his dominance in that bout, it should come as little surprise that Okolie enters this contest as a massive odds-on favourite. While Prasovic is currently ranked at No.3 by the WBO, the unheralded Montenegrin enters the bout as a wide underdog.

Still, with an unbeaten record, Prasovic comes with plenty of confidence and little to lose as he steps it up against the hugely talented Brit.

What's been said?

Less than five years into a professional career, Okolie is on a fast track to great things in the sport of boxing having claimed a first world title less than four years after a debut KO of Geoffrey Cave in Manchester.

Standing behind a prodigious jab and a devastating right hand, Okolie has vowed to create his own legacy in the sport.

"I could go down as one of the best cruiserweights of all time," Okolie told Sky Sports.

"Right now you've got the likes of Usyk who's boxing Anthony Joshua in the main event. You've got David Haye, Evander Holyfield and then the rest are very good fighters.

"But I feel like, with unifications, I have the opportunity to stamp myself as one of the best cruiserweights ever."

"What I don't want is to have been a world champion. And a has-been at 28/29. I can't have that!"

Boasting confidence to match his talent, Okolie expects nothing but fireworks and a quick night when he comes face to face with his fellow unbeaten opponent on Saturday.

"I demand it," Okolie countered when asked if the fight would provide a knockout. "It's just the way it has to be. It's not even a matter of ego because I respect boxers and boxing, I've trained with.

"I think it's wrong of me and my training if he's able to compete with me the whole 12 full rounds when we're in contact sports where I can hit him to the body, head, and everywhere and end it, so I expect a KO and off course I've got a running form.

"Overall, I'm just focused on putting up a good performance. When fighting for a title or defending a title, it's just the same, having to go out there and defend a title bout. I'll do what's necessary to win and win well.

Standing at 6ft5in, Okolie could well find a future in the heavyweight division but for now, an exciting couple of years could lie in store for the Londoner, who, assuming he comes through this assignment, will be well-placed for potential unification bouts against fellow cruiserweight belt holders Arsen Goulamirian and Mairis Briedis.

Where and when?

Okolie vs Prasovic will take place this coming Saturday, September 25 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.

What's on the line?

Okolie will be making the first defence of his WBO Cruiserweight title.

Where can I watch it?

Okolie vs Prasovic will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Box Office. The event starts at 7pm BST with Okolie expected to make his ring walk around 9.30pm BST. American viewers can watch the fight card on DAZN.

Tale of the Tape

Name: Lawrence Okolie

Nickname: The Sauce

Residence: London, England

Pre-fight record: 16-0

Stance: Orthodox

Weight: 200lbs

Height: 6ft5in

Reach: 82.5ins

Rounds boxed: 69

KO Percentage: 81%

Name: Dilan Prasovic

Residence: Herceg Novi, Montenegro

Pre-fight record: 15-0

Stance: Orthodox

Weight: 200lbs

Rounds Boxed: 56

KO Percentage: 80%

Where's the value?

Entering the bout as a heavy favourite, little value can be found in betting on a straight win for the hometown hero.

However, having claimed 10 of his 12 KO's inside four rounds, odds of around 11/10 on Okolie to claim a quickfire stoppage (within four rounds) of Prasovic does look to offer some betting value.

Still, with so little known about his opponent, it would perhaps be unwise to make too many strong wagers here with Prasovic likely to prove game and durable despite the huge jump in class he is taking for this world-title contest.

Ultimately, we expect the brilliant Brit to make relatively short work of the Montenegrin challenger and another highlight-reel KO looks the likeliest outcome in this the chief support to a potentially thrilling main event on Saturday.

Read more: Joshua vs Usyk tip - expect home advantage to play a huge factor in result

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