One year in the making, COVID has somewhat resided to allow Lawrence Okolie and Krzysztof Glowacki to battle for the vacant WBO World Cruiserweight Title.
Matchroom: Okolie vs Glowacki Predictions & Results
It is strange to ponder yonder, but it was as far back as December 2019 that the WBO ordered Lawrence Okolie and Krzysztof Glowacki to be scheduled for the world cruiserweight title. After a pandemic and Glowacki testing for COVID himself, the fight finally seems to be occurring on Saturday night after both men successfully made weight. In easily the biggest step-up in his career, former GB Olympian Lawrence Okolie is up against it when he faces two-time world Cruiserweight champ, Krzysztof Glowacki. While Okolie remains a heavy betting favourite, it is difficult to write off a fighter who gave Oleksandr Usyk hell for twelve rounds and was really only knocked out in his last fight due to an illegal elbow by Mairis Briedis. Still, the gigantic 6’5″ frame of Okolie has proven impenetrable so far at 200lbs, and will no doubt continue to play a huge role even at the highest level of the division.
Further down the billing, Chris Billam-Smith takes a mild step-up in competition against Vasil Ducar but is largely just fighting for a ranking with the WBA. Everybody’s favourite CBD salesman, Anthony Fowler, is pitted against the feather-fisted Spaniard, Jorge Fortea, who has only defeated seven fighters with winning records over a twenty-four fight career. For all the talk from Fowler about wanting to kick on in his perceived prime, he has managed to step-down his competition since his victory over Brian Rose back in 2019. Now is Fowler’s time to be fighting opponents such as Kerman Lejarraga, Scott Fitzgerald II, Sergio Garcia, etc. While Fowler is calling for Garcia after the Fortea fight, talk is cheap. Joe Cordina fights for the first time in almost two years, but having never really kickstarted his career in the first place, the former British champion is starting at square one again. Oh yeah, Eddie has also managed to shoehorn in a couple women’s fights on the card.
vacant WBO World Cruiserweight Title
Lawrence Okolie (15-0, 12KO) vs Krzysztof Glowacki (31-2, 19KO)
Up until 2018, Lawrence Okolie displayed some of the ugliest boxing you could ever see. Using his full height, Okolie would snipe opponents with a single shot before jumping into a clinch and weighing on his man from above. Rinse and repeat for six, ten, twelve rounds. Occasionally, the one significant shot would be enough to put his man down, but it wasn’t worth waiting around to see if Okolie could finish his overmatched opponent. Twice, Okolie was pitted in big domestic clashes against Isaac Chamberlain and Matty Askin. Twice, Okolie stunk out the joint but comfortably got the job done in the most painfully dull way. Since joining the new trainer, Shane McGuigan, at the start of 2019, Okolie has entered the ring with different intent.
Using his imposing figure not just to clinch at the first sign of danger, Okolie has showed more comfort when probing with a long jab. Last time out against Nikodem Jezewski, Okolie was able to keep Jezewski outside of range by simply keeping his lead arm extended as a barrier. Moreover, one of Okolie’s best shots is his body shot that he often throws when entering to clinch. As opponent’s lift their arms to pre-emptively black Okolie’s tangled clinch, he rips in a hard shot on the naked body. Major red flags are obviously Okolie’s lack of activity on the outside and his overextension on his straight right hands. While the overextension is often utilised as a gap closer to wrap up an opponent, Glowacki possesses the power to make Okolie pay.
Krzysztof Glowacki was, and likely still is, a fearsome entity in the Cruiserweight division. Making a name for himself with a come-from-behind eleventh round knockout over long time WBO champion, Marco Huck, Glowacki successfully defended his title just once before meeting Cruiserweight GOAT, Oleksandr Usyk. Although ultimately outworked by the Ukrainian, Glowacki showed flashes of excellence with short, sharp combinations as well as occasionally beating Usyk to the jab. A lack of defensive footwork, however, will simply not suffice against Okolie’s reach. Glowacki vs Briedis was an absolute shambles of a fight, where both fighters executed their fair share of illegal moves, and ended with one of the most obvious elbows in recent memory. While Glowacki was dropped with a clean hook in the second round, this was after eating a huge elbow earlier in the round, and it is pretty difficult to say how much it impacted the eventual knockdown and eventual result. Regardless, with such a long layoff after the three-round debacle, and totalling over two years since his last legitimate fight (Maxim Vlasov), the ring rust may be starkly apparent.
Predicted Result: Okolie TKO Round 10
Fighting can often be dictated by timing. If Okolie is to ever win a world title at Cruiserweight, this match-up against Glowacki is likely his easiest possible match-up. Against an opponent who has been out of the ring for almost two years, his last win another year prior, Okolie also possesses a five-inch height advantage that bolsters his shoot and clinch style. It would be foolish to write off a two-time world champion, however, and Glowacki’s stoppage loss to Briedis was in large part due to the illegal elbows he endured. The Pole pushed a strong pace against Oleksandr Usyk for twelve rounds and rightfully won his fair share of rounds. Glowacki’s glaring flaw is his lack of defensive footwork, and often shooting himself in the foot with a rigid high guard. If Glowacki is unable to get inside the mammoth reach of Okolie, or counter the Brit’s chin when he overextends on his right straight, then it will be a long night of peeking out the guard and holding up all 6’5″ of Okolie. Since his move to Shane McGuigan, Okolie’s output and power has appeared far more potent, and if he is to stop Glowacki then it would be a massive statement to the rest of the division.
Result: Okolie def. Glowacki // KO Round 6 0:46
vacant WBA Continental Cruiserweight Title
Chris Billam-Smith (11-1, 10KO) vs Vasil Ducar (9-3-1, 8KO)
It may come as a bit of a shock, but Chris Billam-Smith is actually thirty-years-old. Although it feels like Billam-Smith has only been on the radar for a year, the Surrey boy will be seeking to kick on up the rankings if he doesn’t want to burn through his prime years. Securing the Commonwealth title against Craig Glover, CBS looked humungous for the weight class. While it was a messy affair at times, CBS beat Glover to the jab by utilising his clear reach advantage, before out-working his opponent in the pocket with regular liver shots. While his power closed out the night early, CBS’ greatest attribute is his distance management on the outside where his minor adjustments ensures he can make the most of his long frame and avoid incoming shots. Last time out against Nathan Thorley, CBS applied a much heavier feint game that kept Thorley on the back foot and unwilling to pull the trigger. Moreover, CBS’ dirty boxing up close honed in on Thorley’s chin and resulted in a shock knockdown in the first round. In the matter of a year, CBS’ game had matured immensely and it will be interesting what has been added to his arsenal on Saturday night.
Vasil Ducar is no stranger to an away day when you browse over his career. The Czech native has fought outside the Czech Republic five times already in his thirteen fight career and has played the role of party pooper many times already. Stopping British prospect Nick Parpa in two rounds and French prospect Samuel Kadje in ten rounds, Ducar’s power rivals CBS’ having failed to end a fight before the bell only twice. Better yet, the jack of all trades is an established Muay Thai fighter and MMA fighter, boasting records of 32-3-1 and 3-2 respectively. From what can be gleaned during his ten-round decision defeat to Aleksei Egorov, Ducar is a patient counter-puncher who is happy to take punishment in the pocket to find his opportunity. Ducar’s chin seems superb, having absorbed shrugged off hard shots across all forms of his career, so for CBS to crack it would be an achievement in itself.
Predicted Result: CBS Decision
Vasil Ducar is a heavy-handed, jack of all trades opponent who has secured a litany of knockouts across boxing, Muay Thai and MMA. Boasting a fabulous chin and a patient counter-punching game, CBS will have to fight smart when Ducar is pressed against the ropes, having already been caught by lesser opponents such as Nathan Thorley. Ducar produces a very limited output, however, and will struggle immensely to continually enter striking range. With masterful distance management, CBS would be best advised to keep peppering Ducar with straight shots and avoid in-fighting with Ducar’s power.
Result: Chris Billam-Smith def. Ducar // Decision (unanimous – 97-92, 99-90, 99-90)
Rest of the Card
Super Featherweight (130)
Joe Cordina (11-0, 7KO) vs Faroukh Kourbanov (17-2, 3KO)
It has been a hot minute since the Welsh Wizard has been wheeled out by Eddie. Entering the professional ranks with a decent amount of hype behind him, Cordina has so far failed to set the world of Super Featherweight on fire. With an undefeated record and at only twenty-nine, Cordina still has a long career ahead of him, but he needs a defining performance soon if he wants to have his name thrown around with the big dogs of the division. Having recovered from a hand injury sustained during his points win over Mario Enrique Tinoco, Cordina will be looking to establish himself early against the tougher Faroukh Kourbanov. While his positioning in the ring is consistently excellent against pressure fighters, it still seems as though Cordina is stuck in the amateur point-fighting mindset. Although he has developed his inside boxing after being roughed up at times by Gavin Gwynne, he can be dragged into a dirty boxing war which negates his best work on the outside.
Faroukh Kourbanov represents a tentative step up in European-level competition for Joe Cordina. Yes, Kourbanov is a former European champion, but he has struggled against more experienced opposition who were able to bully him onto the back-foot and prevent him from fighting comfortably off the front. Kourbanov can take a punch but he is too often outwork on the inside. At range, it will be an interesting battle of the jabs, but Cordina’s exceptional positioning will likely force Kourbanov into reaching with his shots.
Predicted Result: Cordina Decision
The feather fists of Faroukh Kourbanov are unlikely to test the chin of the Welsh Wizard, but the former European champion represents a tentative step up in competition for Cordina. Kourbanov’s weakness stems from his awkward inside game, an area that isn’t Cordina’s area of excellence, but one which he can certainly dominate in. If the fight is to be fought on the outside, Cordina’s exceptional positioning in the ring will likely force Kourbanov into reaching with his shots while Cordina exits out the side after a couple point-scoring strikes.
Result: Cordina def. Kourbanov // Decision (majority – 96-96, 96-95, 98-93)
Super Welterweight (154)
WBA International Super Welterweight Title
Anthony Fowler (13-1, 10KO) vs Jorge Fortea (21-2-1, 7KO)
With a personality like mouldy cheese, it can be hard to get excited for a Fowler fight week, but his actions within the ring justify the viewing. A decorated amateur, Fowler has yet to secure a big scalp in the professionals, although coming close in a split decision loss to rival, Scott Fitzgerald. The most frustrating aspect of watching Fowler fight is that his shots seem to land with a lot less impact than they are thrown with. A slightly wild volume puncher at the start of his pro career, Fowler blasted away journeymen in record time. Having honed his jab with Shane McGuigan, however, Fowler has probed his opponents since the defeat to Fitzgerald and has found more success because of it. Even when landing clean body shots (such as against the overmatched Adam Harper), they seemed to do little in the way of concussive power, however.
Spaniard, Jorge Fortea, is the archetypal European boxer. Able to box competently for the full ten rounds, Fortea offers a tight defence and sharp counter-punching game, he lacks the power to gain the respect of his opponent, however. As a result, opponents can continue to press Fortea yet only Bakhram Murtazaliev was able to cut off the ring effectively against Fortea. During his bout with Azael Cosio, Fortea knocked Cosio down with a lovely uppercut and threw around fifty punches in an attempt to end the fight. The inability to stop a staggered Cosio (despite his left hand hanging low with his chin wide open) and to then return to passive counter punching the next round highlights Fortea’s technical skill level.
Predicted Result: Fowler TKO Round 8
Love him or hate him, the CBD salesman is a handy Super Welterweight who should be more than capable of surviving at the European level. Discount Carl Froch has refined his jab since the Scott Fitzgerald fight and as such has been able to better mask his eventual lunge into heavy body combinations. Jorge Fortea is a sharp counter puncher and will be able to fight most comfortably as Fowler presses him back, but he struggles against opponents capable of cutting off the ring. So far, only Bakhram Murtazaliev has been able to do so, but Fowler’s ring management is at a level to keep Fortea against the ropes and vulnerable to Fowler’s suffocating volume.
Result: Fowler def. Fortea // KO Round 3 3:08
Bradley Rea (9-0, 3KO) vs Lee Cutler (7-0, 4KO)
Hidden away deep in the card is a decent domestic toss-up between two undefeated Middleweights. Rea has so far feasted a host of journeymen to kickstart his professional career, but the twenty-three-year-old looks the real deal. Hailing from Manchester, Rea is a tall fighter who showcased his skill set well against the rugged, Pavol Garaj, last time out. While his defensive movement (head and footwork) needs a lot of work, Rea’s offensive display was beautiful to watch. Throwing two or three punches off the same hand, changing up between head and body, regularly throwing uppercuts after splitting Garaj’s guard – Rea is undoubtedly entertaining. There is still lots of work left, but the raw talent is crystal clear.
Dorset boy, Lee Cutler, is at a physical disadvantage when he squares off against Bradley Rea. A back-foot boxer, Cutler aims to draw opponents onto his pull and counter before launching short combinations to re-position himself back to the centre of the ring. Cutler’s defence is far tighter than Rea’s, but he will find it far more difficult to counter Rea and his whirlwind hand speed than the journeymen he has dispatched of.
Predicted Result: Rea Decision
Rea is an exciting fighter to watch when he lets his hands go, but a lack of defensive movement was sorely exposed by journeyman, Pavol Garaj. While both men are young, undefeated prospects locking horns in a domestic clash-up, Rea’s volume and physical superiority will overwhelm Cutler. Expect a somewhat loose affair at times, though, as neither man is the polished product just yet.
Result: Rea def. Cutler // TKO Round 1 2:03
Women’s Featherweight (126)
Ramla Ali (1-0) vs Bec Connolly (3-8)
Ramla Ali has an easy story for Eddie to push. The first female Muslim boxer to win an English title, before then representing her native Somalia at the international level, it must be noted that Ali is thirty-one and not the baby-faced prospect that Matchroom strangely seems to be pushing. Ali will be wheeled out a fair few times before a jump up to any real competition as she adapts to the professional ranks. Ali’s balance and composure are the base from which she can successfully throw her lengthy combinations.
Bec Connolly seems to be the new female journeyman that Eddie is using for the prospects in his roster. Having already gone the distance with Natasha Jonas, Terri Harper, Rachel Ball and Ellie Scotney, Connolly is a rugged fighter with a decent chin and massive heart. Connolly consistently drops her right hand when jabbing, and as a result, is hit with hard left hooks every round which breaks her rhythm.
Predicted Result: Ali TKO Round 5
A decision is probably the safest bet but Bec Connolly paper-thin guard is a big worry. Although Connolly has duelled with many of the top Featherweights already (Natasha Jonas, Terri Harper, Rachel Ball and Ellie Scotney), her consistent failure to keep the right hand tucked under her chin leaves her jaw wide open to be banged. Ali was unfortunate not to stop the durable Eva Hubmayer during her debut, but with the first-fight jitters dealt with, Ali should be able to tee off.
Result: Ali def. Connolly // Decision (referee’s scorecard – 60-55)
Women’s Featherweight (126)
Ellie Scotney (1-0) vs Mailys Gangloff (4-1, 1KO)
Ellie Scotney lived up to the hype during her debut against Bec Connolly. While Connolly is a limited fighter, Scotney was able to avoid Connolly’s short bursts through slick footwork and distance management. While Scotney’s inside game needs to be developed as she struggled when wrapped up, on the outside Scotney looks lethal accurate.
Mailys Gangloff is a decent prospect at twenty-five and only just losing out on the French Super Bantamweight title via split decision. Unfortunately for Gangloff, she will struggle to fight her natural outside game with the physical superiority of Scotney.
Predicted Result: Scotney Decision
Decorated amateur Ellie Scotney continues her journey in the professional ranks since leaving her Olympic ambitions behind. Scotney’s slick footwork and distance management were huge factors behind her debut success against Bec Connolly, and it is difficult to see how Gangloff wins this fight at the mid-range. Gangloff herself is a young prospect, and will no doubt want to prove many doubters wrong, but she is at a clear physical and technical disadvantage.
Result: Scotney def. Gangloff // Decision (referee’s scorecard – 59-55)
Matchroom: Okolie vs Glowacki
2021 Boxing Season
Takeaway comments: Sweaty octopus suffocating machine does it at the world level!
Pintsized Interests is just a baby finding its first steps in the big, bad world of sports journalism. If you enjoy the content that is regularly uploaded then please consider donating via the link below. Any amount is greatly appreciated, and will go towards ensuring the survival of Pintsized Interests in the long-term.