|15:00 GMT LIVE ON BEFORE THE BELL|
8 x 3 mins International Heavyweight contest
DEMSEY MCKEAN 246lbs 1oz v ARIEL ESTEBAN BRACAMONTE 293lbs 1oz
(Queensland, Australia) (La Cumbre, Argentina)
6 x 3 mins International Light-Heavyweight contest
JOHN HEDGES 183lbs 9oz v ALEKSANDER NAGOLSKI 182lbs 2oz
(Takeley, England) (Bytom, Poland)
6 x 3 mins International Cruiserweight contest
CHEAVON CLARKE 199lbs 7oz v TONI VISIC 199lbs
(Gravesend, England) (Split, Croatia)
17:00 GMT LIVE ON DAZN
6 x 3 mins Lightweight contest
CAMPBELL HATTON 136lbs 2oz v JOE DUCKER 136lbs 8oz
(Hyde, England) (Loughborough, England)
10 x 3 mins International Heavyweight contest
FABIO WARDLEY 236lbs 7oz v DANIEL MARTZ 266lbs 2oz
(Ipswich, England) (Clarksburg, USA)
10 x 3 mins International Middleweight contest
ANTHONY FOWLER 163lbs 7oz v LUKASZ MACIEC 163lbs 9oz
(Liverpool, England) (Lublin, Poland)
12 x 3 mins European Featherweight Title
KARIM GUERFI 125lbs 4oz v JORDAN GILL 126lbs
(Manosque, France) (Chatteris, England)
10 x 3 mins vacant WBC International Flyweight Title
GALAL YAFAI 111lbs 5oz v CARLOS VADO BAUTISTA 109lbs 9oz
(Birmingham, England) (Mexico City, Mexico)
12 x 3 mins WBO Cruiserweight World Title
LAWRENCE OKOLIE 199lbs 4oz v MICHAL CIESLAK 199lbs 6oz
(Hackney, England) (Radom, Poland)
Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Sport Chairman:
“A huge night of boxing planned for Sunday, I’ve always felt there is massive potential for Sunday boxing, and you’ll see it in full action and flow this weekend – starting at 3pm in London and main event expected in the ring around 9pm live on DAZN.
“Of course, the WBO Cruiserweight World Championship on the line between Lawrence Okolie and Michal Cieslak from Poland, as well as a huge supporting cast on the card.”
“I’ve had 17 fights, 14 by KO, on the weekend it’ll be 18 and 15 by KO. Everyone can say what they want about the opponent until after I’ve beaten them and then we’ll be onto the next one and we’ll see what everyone says about him.
“I think power is secondary, it’s more so for fans and my opponents to watch and see what I’m doing. In the ring, as I’m going to show on Sunday, there’s so many other things that I do that are overlooked. It all ends in a KO which is why people care about the power.
“Nothing else has mattered since the fight got signed, it’s up to be to wipe the smile off his [Cieslak] face and all of his Polish teammates on Sunday.
“It’s a must, 100% ends in a KO. 1 million percent.”
Shane McGuigan, trainer of Lawrence Okolie:
“Cieslak put on a fantastic performance against Makabu and I thought arguably could have won that fight. He’s only got the one blemish on his record, but these are the fights we need for Lawrence Okolie, he is the best Cruiserweight in the world, I know that for a fact – we just need to go out there a prove it.
“We’ve been doing a lot of work, he [Lawrence] joined me in early 2019. He’s always had power and has now learnt how to maintain the distance, be a bit more disciplined, keep range, but he’s still learning all the time. That’s the scary thing, when he moves up to Heavyweight, I believe he’ll be a two-weight World Champion. Massive hopes for Lawrence and I think it’ll be a showing of his true ability on Sunday.”
“To be honest, I don’t care what other people think like media or supporters, I’m focused on myself and on what I’m going to do Sunday.
“I am aware that there will be a lot of supporters from my city of Radom and other places around Poland, I can’t wait to fight in this bout.
“Today I’m focusing on myself so I’m not interested on how hard he punches and how strong he is, I’m going to do what I have to on Sunday and I’ll be celebrating then.”
Andrzej Liczik, trainer of Michal Cieslak:
“I can confirm that Cieslak is very well prepared for the fight on Sunday, he will go out there and defeat the opponent, Lawrence Okolie.
“I think that you will all find out on Sunday, we’ll confirm how we do it.”
“It’s exciting to be here, I’m used to being stuck in the middle of nowhere fighting. It’s good to be here, loads of cameras and people around, I’m just ready to fight. It seems more real now seeing Bautista over there speaking, the only thing I’m thinking about is fighting and putting on a show for people. Moving on and moving forward.
“He’s coming here to win; he’s not coming here to lose. I’m the so called ‘Golden Boy’, he’s looking to knock me off my perch. We’ve had a few upsets with Mexicans coming over recently, I don’t think that’ll be the case on Sunday. It’s a good learning fight for me and I just want to remind people how good I am.
“It’s what I’m used to when I went to the Olympic games, fighting the best in the world. I don’t want to fight someone who’s come to survive or to say they’ve fought me or on a Matchroom bill. I want to fight people that are going to test me, to progress me and make me better. I’m sure I’ll show that on Sunday.”
Carlos Vado Bautista:
“I’m really happy to be here on this excellent bill, it’s going to be a great night. To be fair whether or not Galal is making his debut, it’s not relevant for me, all I know is he’ll be ready, I’ll be ready as well and we’re going to have a war.
“I think the past is not so relevant, we’re both going to be ready, I don’t think he’s going to be any less prepared for ten rounds then myself. We’ll be going all out for it, both of us.”
“I’m happy to fight on this Matchroom show, probably the best promotor in the world. I’m ready for this fight, I really believe in myself and to prove who I am and why I’m a champion. Jordan Gill is a good technical fighter but I’m ready for him. I hope on Sunday it will be a great fight.
“At my age of 34, Bantamweight is really hard for me, when I had the opportunity to fight for the title at Featherweight, I was really happy.”
“That’s why I win, I’m looking forward to it, it’s a big challenge and I thrive under pressure. The pressure is on, I’ve got to win this fight but I’m looking forward to it.
“There’s always disappointment and ups and downs, I’m a stayer and I’ll just stay until the end. I turn up to the gym every day and just do what I have to do, I feel like this is what’s meant to be for me, I don’t know when I’m going to get there but I will in the end. I’m looking forward to this fight.
“It’s an exciting time to be in the division, this is a massive fight for the European Title. Get the fight won and you’re up there so it’s all to play for. I’ve had the domestic fights, boxed Cunningham, beat Ryan Doyle for the Commonwealth, boxed Reece Bellotti who was Commonwealth Champion as well so this is the next step and I feel like I’m ready for the challenge.”
“No athlete likes to take time out of the sport they love but sometimes it’s needed and what we have to do, I took that time and everything’s back and firing at 100%. That was the plan, to get into a nice even place and have a really big year, I’m kicking it off with a big one against an opponent that’s been in with some top-level operators. That’s the way we’re starting things and I’m only looking to get bigger from here.
“There’s a lot of talk about me moving and going towards the British Title clash with Nathan Gorman, I’ll never look past the opponent in front of me. I’ve still got a job to do on Sunday, get through that okay and quickly look towards bigger and better things.”
“He’s really good but I’ve been in the ring with a lot of top guys and put in a lot of good work at home. I’ve been staying in shape waiting for the call and now I’ve got it, here I am.
“A lot of guys want to test how they do compared to how some of the other top guys have done, I’ve just been staying in shape and waiting for the call. I’m really happy to be here and I appreciate Matchroom for bringing me over.”
“I’ve made the weight so easy this time, I’ve got a new nutritionist who has been a great help to me. You’re going to see a different animal on Sunday night, now I’m in the ring fully fuelled, in the best shape of my life and so mentally focused. I know this guy has never been stopped but come Sunday night I’m going to stop him; I’m going to break him down and stop him.
“I look back and I showed a lot of weakness that fight [Smith], I showed a lot of flaws that I needed to correct. I think making that weight took a lot out of my performance, I was really disappointed how I faded so fast in the fight, I really a really bad struggle getting down to the weight.
“I’ve come away, rebuilt and I’m fully focused ready for Sunday night. This is the first fight in years I’m really excited, I’m used to sitting here thinking when is the weigh-in, I can’t be arsed being here because I just want to weigh-in. Now my families down here I’m fully fuelled and can’t wait.”
“I know that this is a big opportunity for me, and I will intend to make the most of it.
“I will be able to defeat Anthony Fowler and I will show this on Sunday. I will showcase boxing of the highest level.”
“It was more of what we’re used to seeing in the gym when I boxed last time out in Bilbao, it was a lot more relaxed and composed – it’s going to be the same this time. That’s the mindset I’m going in with for the rest of my career, I’m not going to be rushing my work, I’ve learnt from my mistakes so I’m looking forward to building on my last performance.
“I think having an opponent that’s going to come and win, he’s going to be confident coming into the fight, he’ll have seen me at my worst in the Tottenham fight and that’s not what’s going to be happening again. He’ll be really up for it and fancy his chances, he’ll leave a few more gaps, when I’ve got a more ambitious opponent that’ll bring the best out in me.”
“I just can’t wait, all the hard work is done, I’m just ready now.”
“It’s just another opponent to me, I think I’ve been in with better so I’m just here to do my job.”
“I think if you look at my recent performances I’m getting better, I think the main thing is I’m gradually maturing each fight and filling the weight out. At the minute Light-Heavyweight is good enough so I’m going to stay there for a little while and hopefully make a name for myself and pout on a massive performance Sunday night.
“We all push each other in the gym and work hard, we’re lucky to have a trainer like Mark Tibbs and his dad Jimmy, really the only way is up. We’re all pushing each other, Ebanie’s got a World Title fight coming up and Johnny’s staying active, it’s a great stable to be part of.”
“It’s exciting, I’m ready to go. It’s been very similar to the GB experience, there’s more media and people watching. I’m looking forward to getting started.
“People always speak about the amateur experience; this is a different game so regardless of what experience I’ve got I’m starting over now, and I’ve got to treat is accordingly.
“My mom always told me to mind my own business and right now my business is Sunday so let’s handle that.”
“It’s very exciting to spend some more quality time with Tony and Peter Sims, obviously since I made the move from the Gold Coast to Essex a lot of people are calling me quite mad. Nice sunny weather with the beach to come over here with the quite dark and cloudy weather.
“The boxing is second to none here, the sparring I’ve been getting is quality as well, I’ve been sharing a lot of rounds with Daniel Dubois this camp. I’m really keen to get in there and showcase these newfound skills, I’m quite confident this is going to be a career best as well.
“I can feel that after 8/9 weeks I’ve spent with Tony too, so I’ve levelled up a lot as well and the sparring has massively contributed to that as well. We don’t have that quality of sparring back home in Australia, I’ve done this much sparring for a prep ever, three times a week over here with high quality opponents, I just can’t wait to get in there.
“I’m quite lucky, Eddie has made me quite active, I only fought a few months ago. I’ve got my next fight on Sunday and we’re looking at quite a quick turnaround once I get through Bracamonte – that’s quite a blessing on its own
“We’re gelling with Tony at the moment, building up that relationship and working very well together too. I’m very excited for the future and what it brings, I just can’t wait to showcase all these skills on Sunday.”
|Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Sport Chairman:|
On signing Galal Yafai –
“This young man is an exceptional talent. Galal was the standout British fighter at the Games and we have a long-standing relationship with his brothers, so it was personally very important to me to get this done. Galal is going to do things very differently, for his professional debut at The O2 we are looking for him to challenge for his first professional title and from there move quickly to a World Title which we expect him to win across multiple divisions.”On Okolie v. Cieslak card –
“Welcome back to everyone at Trinity House here in Trinity Square, London ahead of a big press conference and as you can see from this top table – we’ve rammed everybody on. We’ve got a huge night of boxing at The O2 on Sunday February 27, live on DAZN. Lawrence Okolie will make the second defence on his WBO Cruiserweight World Title against Michal Cieslak. It’s a tremendous fight, two absolute elite Cruiserweights battling for glory on a Sunday night – something completely different at The O2 which for me is the best arena in the country for boxing. It’s going to be a tremendous night. The card is stacked with talent in so many different divisions. So many different fighters at different stages in their careers.”
“I believe on paper this could be one of the hardest fights. Until you actually get in the ring, you never know what someone’s got. Watching Cieslak’s fights, he’s a very good technical boxer. He’s got some power and good speed. All in all, it poses to be a very good challenging fight.
“I believe I’m going to go on to unify the division. One of the main things that we focus on and try to keep fit is mindset. So I’m making sure that we practice the mind, practice the body, put yourself in interesting situations and hold yourself accountable. I’m ready for this. This is a stage that I was made for. This is a fight I was made for.
“The main thing for me is that boxing is my true love. It’s my rocket fuel. If I’m not performing in the ring then none of this other stuff happens. So for me I find motivation being able to do a rap song. Being able to collaborate with companies that I’m fans of or supporters of.
“Where I came from, without making it a sob story, to where I am right now it’s a blessing. And I want to hold onto that. My opponent here is to make amends, but I have to make sure that my journey continues in the direction that it’s going and we don’t have any hiccups.
“As soon as a fight is made, Cieslak is the only thing I think of. I’ve got a picture of him in my room. I watched all of his interviews. I don’t understand any of them but I like to watch his mannerisms. I’ve watched all of his fights. I know him and that’s what I focus on. Michael Cieslak. After that, we can talk about everyone else.”
“It’s surely a big fight for Polish boxing, I can’t wait to actually attend the fight. I’m training very hard, and I can’t wait to fight.
“He’s a very strong fighter and he punches with both hands, he’s very strong physically. I just have to do my work, all the training I’ve done with my coach, that’s what I’m going to bring to the ring.
“If I wasn’t sure I was going to win, I wouldn’t be here, I’ve been training since I was 13 so I’m ready to get the WBO Title.”
“I’m finally here now in the ins and outs of professional boxing. But I’m excited now. It’s been a while, 4-5 years to wait from the Olympic Games. Last year before the Olympics I was thinking, ‘I’ve probably done the wrong thing here’. I had a lot of pressure to go to the Olympics and make sure I did well. I brought a gold medal back and here I am now, ready to fight.
“That gold medal is life-changing. That’s what I plan to do from the start. Obviously it didn’t work out for me in Rio. I’ve seen all the boys turning pro, Lawrence and Fowler, and I thought I would give it another crack. And again that extra one year killed me. I thought, ‘I’m gonna have to wait another year now’. Like I said earlier I was asking if I had done the right thing. And now I have a gold medal and I understand coming from the Olympics I see myself as a better fighter.
“I’m not messing around. I want to get started and I want to go fast. Yeah I’ve got to be careful at the same time I can’t be fighting killers every show. But I want to get there sooner rather than later. I want to be a World Champion. We’ve all got aspirations and I think every boxer wants to be a World Champion, hopefully a multi weight World Champion. I’ll start off light first and hopefully I can be World Champion.
“Like I said I didn’t want to start off to too slow, but I didn’t want to go off the deep end or deeper than usual. I’m looking forward to it and I’ll make sure I get the win. And most importantly I want to look good doing it too. Then I can sit back and watch my good friend Lawrence defend his World Title.
“Obviously, my brother was a World Champion at Super-Fly. He lost to Chocolatito, a legend. I’m a big fan of his. I think Chocolatito beats Martinez. I think Martinez is a great fighter, someone I can look to fight down the line if he still at my weight.”
“I’m massively looking forward to getting back out there. Obviously it’s not great for any sportsman to have a bit of an injury and have to take time out of the sport you love. But sometimes prevention is better than the cure. You have to look after yourself.
“I’m planning to have a really big year this year. I want to go into it fresh and make sure that everything is sorted, all ticked off and done. And I can get really sucked in to have a big impactful year this year. And hopefully push onto some more belts.
“I’ve been cruising through the majority of all my opponents. I need to find a place where I can almost take a second and take a little stop. So far, I’ve been cleaning through everyone pretty easily. We need to keep pushing and keep raising that bar. Keep moving on to higher levels until we get to a point where I find an opponent who is in front of me and won’t go in the first round.
“On the back end of my injury, I’ve been testing on my body. I did a few rounds with Chisora and we did some great sparring. In the most recent weeks, I’ve been with Johnny Fisher and a few of the other guys. The little bump on my lip isn’t down to Johnny but I did get a few bruises.”
“I feel like a different fighter, showing my patience and composure where I used to be forcing things and doing too much.
“There was no pressure out and Bilbao. But obviously we don’t want it to stay like that. It’s massively beneficial for me to do shows like this. There’s no going backwards now.
“He’s got a winning record and he’s definitely a good opponent. It’s going to be a good test for me but I think where I’ve force things and tried doing too much in the past, I think having a bit more of an ambitious opponent is going to make me think more. It’s going to make me stay switched on and not rush things.”
“You know what Eddie, it was crazy when I signed with you. I signed at just 18 and I’m only 19 now. I had a massive year. I think the performances are only getting better so now I can’t wait to go back out to The O2 Arena with a massive platform and do the business again in better fashion.
“I’m in the gym and Johnny Fisher trains with me and we push each other. To be honest Eddie I look at Lawrence and I think I’m gonna be a similar type of build. I can’t see myself ever being like a massive wide fighter. So, I think I’m going to be a lean Cruiserweight. I’m going to fill out and I’ve got a lot of my own strength to work on. The main thing is to not rush it. I’m going to give my body the development time that it needs and fill it naturally. And when it’s time, I’ll move up.”
“It’s a great division. I think a lot of people are being entertained right now. Yeah, I’m looking to move as fast as you’re ready to move me.”
“I’m happy to show the new me. I’m eating for five meals a day now. I have to be strict. I was traveling a lot trying to be a dad and trying to be a professional boxer.
“Like I said my life is to box and I just want to have more proper fights. I don’t want no gimme fights because I’m better now and I’m going to show it. I want to make sure every fight is on a high level.”
“Yeah this is pretty much as big as it gets you know. I’m making my British debut so I’ve got to really make sure that I go out there and put on a big clinic and come away with a nice knockout as well.
“It’s been a wild four months since I left Australia and based myself over here in Essex. Like I said I was with Anthony Joshua and then in Portugal with Dillian Whyte.
“It’s good to come back and get some one-on-one time with Tony Sims you know. Right before my fight in America I spent about two weeks with him and I was just all over the place. I went through about four or five different coaches through the training camps. I think I’ve been with Tony now for about six weeks straight and the progress is starting to show.
“This is going to be a busy year for me. 2022 is about staying active and getting that experience under my belt. 2023 is where I can see the World Title fight coming. As long as I keep winning and keep working hard that’s all I can see.
“We were in talks a little while ago when Australia and New Zealand were in the bad lockdown. Me and Joseph Parker were in talks a little bit. Because we were in the bubble out there. It never really eventuated. But now is a good time as ever to try to make that fight. The Heavyweight division is kind of held up at the moment. I’m the fight that probably makes sense for him at the moment even though he is a little higher rank than me.”
|Tickets for WBO Cruiserweight World Title clash go on sale this week!|
|Lawrence Okolie will make the second defence of his WBO Cruiserweight World Title against former World Title challenger Michal Cieslak at The O2 in London on Sunday February 27, shown live worldwide on DAZN (excluding New Zealand and Australia).|
Hackney’s Okolie (17-0, 14 KOs) crushed Krzysztof Glowacki in six rounds to be crowned the new WBO Cruiserweight World Champion in just his sixteenth fight at The SSE Arena, Wembley in March last year.
The 29-year-old then made short work of Montenegro’s Dilan Prasovic in the first defence of his World Title on the blockbuster Anthony Joshua vs. Oleksandr Usyk card at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September, taking out his mandatory challenger in just three rounds.
Poland’s Cieslak (21-1, 15 KOs) suffered the one and only loss of his professional career when he took WBC Cruiserweight World Champion Ilunga Junior Makabu the distance in the Democratic Republic Of The Congo in January 2020.
“Thank you to Cieslak for accepting the fight,” said Okolie. “I’m sure he is coming to get revenge for Glowacki! He is a good, strong campaigner who should be one of my toughest tests to date.”
On the undercard, France’s Karim Guerfi (30-5, 9 KOs) makes the first defence of his EBU European Featherweight Title against ‘The Thrill’ Jordan Gill (26-1-1, 7 KOs), with more exciting additions to be confirmed this week.
Tickets for Okolie vs. Cieslak are priced £40, £60, £100, £150 and £250 (VIP).
Presale tickets are available to purchase for O2 Priority Members NOW via The O2 (www.theo2.co.uk)
Matchroom Fight Pass members will be able to purchase tickets from midday on Tuesday January 25. Priority ticket info has been emailed directly to eligible members.
General Sale tickets can be purchased via StubHub (www.stubhub.co.uk) from midday on Wednesday January 26.