Lawrence Okolie easily defends WBO cruiserweight title but Campbell Hatton lucky to beat Sonni Martinez

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Lawrence Okolie provided the first defence of his WBO cruiserweight title  (Getty Images)
Lawrence Okolie provided the first defence of his WBO cruiserweight title (Getty Images)

Lawrence Okolie has set himself the aspiration to be one of the great cruiserweights of all time.

The 28-year-old may yet find himself among the boxing elite but he was barely tested in the first defence of his WBO title against Dilan Prasovic.

After a cagey first round in which he used his jab to good effect, he floored his Montenegrin opponent in the second round and again in the third, Prasovic not rising from his knees and the referee stopping the contest. It extended the Hackney fighter’s record in the professional ranks to 17 wins from 17 bouts.

Okolie had won the title back inside a virtually empty stadium back in March. This time, the stands were filling up for the Anthony Joshua fight, giving him the sort of support he previously said he had craved.

His target is a shot at Mairis Briedis but facing mandatory opponent Prasovic gave little indication how he might fare.

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Earlier, Callum Smith’s debut at light-heavyweight was short-lived but successful as he knocked out Lenin Castillo in just the second round.

The Dominican fighter’s legs began twitching on the canvas and he had to receive medical treatment in the ring before being carried out on a stretcher.

For Smith, it was his first fight since making the step-up from super-middleweight, having lost to Canelo Alvarez at the end of last year.

Campbell Hatton was mightily lucky to get away with a narrow win over Sonni Martinez as he stepped up to six rounds for the first time at lightweight.

Prior to the fight, Hatton said he had only shown 20 per cent of his potential and, while there were glimpses of an exciting fighter, he too often left himself wide open while throwing punches wildly.

Uruguayan Martinez looked confident he had won the fight and, in truth, deserved to as Hatton appeared to try too hard to live up to the family name and dad Ricky’s explosive style in the ring.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Hatton looked exhausted in the aftermath and, no doubt, relieved at the result, which was booed by much of the crowd inside the stadium.

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