Lawrence Okolie wins bridgerweight world title with ruthless first-round victory over Lukasz Rozanski

Lawrence Okolie silenced the Polish fans with a statement performance (Getty Images)
Lawrence Okolie silenced the Polish fans with a statement performance (Getty Images)

Lawrence Okolie became a two-weight world champion as he ruthlessly stopped Lukasz Rozanski in the opening round.

The Briton travelled to Poland to challenge for the WBC bridgerweight title, a year on from losing his cruiserweight belt against Chris Billam-Smith, and the raucous home fans were stunned into silence inside the opening three minutes.

The previously unbeaten Rozanski had promised a fast start himself but it was Okolie, now 20-1, who proved to be far too good, dropping the 38-year-old three times before it was waved off with seconds remaining in the first round.

“This is the best moment in boxing for me, so I’m super happy,” the 31-year-old said.

“New weight, putting the KO back in Okolie. I said I’m going to go in there from round one and try and get the knockout... I went out there and done that.”

The Polish fighter won his world title with a first-round win over Alen Babic last year and, having never been beyond the fourth round, was never likely to try and drag this bout out.

But Rozanski appeared a wide-open target from the opening bell, the small ring ensuring he was always within range, and Okolie, in his first fight at bridgerweight, sent him crashing to the ring with a big right hand.

The home fighter picked himself up, though not in a way that inspired confidence he would be on his feet for long. Down he went for a second time, his claims that Okolie had landed on the back of his head waved away, and he remained on unsteady legs as he staggered up once more.

Okolie was not in the mood for hanging around as he hunted down Rozanski, who was caught with a sweeping uppercut as he collapsed into the ropes and greeted the canvas for a third time. He beat the count but the referee waved the bout off, a decision met with no complaints from Rozanski as he stood motionless after a whirlwind three minutes.

It remains to be seen what is next for Okolie, who has made it clear he sees his long-term future at heavyweight.

While there have been suggestions this fight against Rozanski could be Okolie’s only one at 224lbs before moving a division again, he revealed he is open to defending his new title against mandatory challenger Kevin Lerena.

“I think that will most likely be the next one, unless the opportunity comes at heavyweight,” Okolie said.

“But I’m up for whatever. The weight I’m at now, I feel comfortable, I feel fit, I feel strong. I feel confident as well, I was throwing shots and not feeling overawed at all, so we’ll see. I just want to fight against ASAP, because staying active you get the best out of yourself.

“I had a year out, got a round in and so I want to get another fight ASAP.”