Hellraiser Boxing News | British Beef Preview
George Storr previews this Saturday's huge grudge match which is headlining London's O2. Cruiserweight domestic rivals Lawrence Okolie and Isaac Chamberlain face off, risking their unbeaten records and plenty of pride in a high risk fight.
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by George Storr
Lawrence Okolie takes on Isaac Chamberlain at the O2 on February third, it’s an exciting cruiserweight clash but the reception for the fight has been somewhat mixed. While most fans have billed it an exciting bout and heralded gutsy matchmaking, one notable party was far from impressed…
British cruiserweight champion, Matty Askin, told World Boxing News: “I don’t think it will be that exciting, I really don’t. I fancy Okolie to win - if I’m honest. I think he’ll be too big, his reach and he’s got a bit of power about him… I don’t see it being a particularly exciting fight, I don’t know what to tell you, I think they might stand up and box each other and it might just become a bit stale.”
Askin himself is scheduled to take on ‘The Monster’ Stephen Simmons at York Hall in March, with the winner of that match-up no doubt becoming an aspirational target for the winner of Okolie versus Chamberlain, or ‘British Beef’ as the card has been dubbed.
While Okolie’s natural size has led many to argue his case in what looks like a closely matched bout, it is noteworthy that Isaac Chamberlain was recently away in Kiev sparring Oleksandr Usyk, who is arguably the best cruiserweight in the world. That stands him in good stead in terms of preparation. Equally though Okolie has ready access to fellow Olympian, Joshua Buatsi and will not lack quality preparation, but the question remains, is Usyk a level above and could that ring experience bring Chamberlain closer on the night?
The show’s title seemed an apt one as the pair exchanged words in the press conference. Okolie had this damning assessment of his opposite number: “I am better than him in every single department… If he comes at me, it’s over quickly. If he boxes on the back foot and look to take me rounds, I’ll show my boxing pedigree. Anything he brings to the table, I will answer it and do so with a brutal KO…. He’s motivated by money, I’m motivated by my ambitions as a fighter.”
“Can Isaac take my power? Can Isaac take me into the later rounds? We’re going to find out. I see Isaac as a good fighter, very fast, a solid boxing IQ and he’s resilient, but that’s not enough against me as I going to get to him and get to him viciously.”
For Chamberlain's part, he released a cheeky advert in Okolie's local paper, the Hackney Gazette, looking for work for his foe after their fight. Listing Lawrence's skills as, "stacking shelves" due to his height, and, "being able to count to ten" after Isaac has floored him; the piece has certainly stirred the beef even further.
Will Okolie’s prediction come true and will his size and amateur record win out? Or might Chamberlain’s sparring experience, as well as the extra rounds he has spent in a professional ring, come to the fore and allow him to cope with Okolie’s size and power?
Whichever way this bout goes, it’s sure to have a big impact on the cruiserweight division domestically. The winner will doubtless be ringside for Simmons versus Askin and looking to step up into title contention. The loser will still have a great career in boxing ahead of them, and is unlikely to end up stacking shelves.
Hopefully this is a close-run thing and a great spectacle, both fighters have been brave in putting their unbeaten records on the line so early in their careers. I can't help but agree with Matty Askin though that Okolie's size will be a crucial factor and see him getting the stoppage in the later rounds.
Posted: 31st Jan 2018
NEXT UP: The Power and The Glory
2nd Feb 2019 16:00 - 23:00, York Hall, 5 Old Ford Road, E2 9PI
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