The Nigeria Boxing Board of Control (NBB of C) has assured World Boxing Organisation’s cruiserweight champion, Lawrence Okolie of its support.
The Nigerian-born British boxer, who has won four major titles under six years of his career, described his first time visit to his fatherland as a ‘thing of joy’. Okolie, whose father is from Igbuzor in Delta State, has also won the Commonwealth, British and the European championships.
On Monday, NBB of C President, Dr Rafiu Ladipo and the Secretary-General, Mr Remi Aboderin commended the boxer for identifying with his base – Surulere, Lagos – and for appreciating and inviting the Board to the media briefing recently hosting him.
Ladipo said: ‘This is actually the way to go about the homecoming of a genuine boxer with the interest of promoting himself and the pro boxing trade. He/she should always identify with the local boxing body’.
He added that a genuine professional boxer should not wait until he got into an untoward situation before he identified or called on the local sanctioning body of his country. ‘Therefore, we appreciate Champion Okolie for doing the right thing’, Ladipo further said.
He stated that the NBB of C is totally behind Okolie in his quest to win more laurels and make his family and nation proud, saying there are several world titles to be won and the body wishes him well.
Ladipo disclosed that Aboderin and himself had been to the 02 Arena in England to watch Lawrence fight twice and they would also be available to watch him whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Okolie, who represented Great Britain at Rio 2016 Olympics in Brazil, won the WBO cruiserweight title in 2021.
He trains under a manager of Nigeria-British born heavyweight boxer, Anthony Joshua.
The champion revealed that his title defence would come up soon after Joshua’s mega fight in Saudi Arabia.
‘After I defend my title, I hope to move to the heavyweight category, and I am sure of bringing some changes into it (the heavyweight division)’, Okolie said in Lagos.
In his second defence of the title last February, Okolie beat Polish Michal Cieslak via unanimous decision.
The boxer’s father, Barrister Lawrence Okolie spoke on his feelings whenever he watched his son throw punches inside the ring: ‘I told him initially that I won’t be at the ringside to watch his fight because I always get scared of seeing him receiving those punches. But I always believe in him.
‘He has the raw talent to win. The last fight, I left the ring in the third round. I only returned in the 12th round after he had won’.