Lawrence Okolie explains why his mum won’t let him fight Anthony Joshua

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Lawrence Okolie has ruled out ever facing his manager Anthony Joshua in the ring – because his mum would never let him.

The Hackney cruiserweight bids for world title glory when he takes on Krzysztof Glowacki for the vacant WBO title tonight.

Okolie, 28, has plans to become undisputed champion at 14st 4lb before moving up to the glamour division of the sport.

That could lead to an awkward situation if his manager Joshua is still reigning as a heavyweight king.

But mum Elizabeth won't ever allow it to happen having seen how Joshua inspired Okolie to go from McDonald's worker in 2012 to a Rio Olympian four years later and possibly a world champion tonight.

“I think that would be a conflict of interests,” said the unbeaten Okolie.

“It's not really in my plans.

“He's obviously someone who has been a massive inspiration to my life and boxing.

“My mum, first and foremost, would never accept it.

“I think she would be rooting for AJ. That is not one I really look at. She loves him.

“She knows the impact he has had, she has seen the change in me, they've spoken, she roots for him and supports him.

“If I say 'I'm pushing all that to the side and I'm going to go after the money or whatever'. I don't think she would be too happy about it.”

Okolie adores his mum after she raised him, his two brothers and his sister in a council flat in Stoke Newington in Hackney.

He dedicated a book he has released to her and wants to win the world title for her tonight at the behind-closed-doors show.

But he insists she won't get to keep the belt, instead one day he wants to buy her a house.

“I would love to say it will go to my mum's house but it will be at my house because when friends come over they should see they're around the champion,” he said.

“She is still living in the same flat I grew up in, it was a council flat but it's now owned by us.

“At least she doesn't have to pay rent and I have done it up.

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  • “It is one of my goals to move her and my little sister into a house but patience.

    “She's not putting pressure, she doesn't ask me for much and she is taken aback when I do stuff for her.”

    Okolie has cut a confident and relaxed figure this week while with his team in the Covid-19 secure bubble at the Hilton, Wembley.

    He is about to fight for a world title in just his 16th professional fight against a seasoned former title holder and could become Britain's seventh world cruiserweight champion.

    Okolie even watched a documentary on the previous Brits to conquer the division on Wednesday night here at the hotel but even then the nerves didn't hit.

    “If you ask women they will say that there's something wrong with me, I'm a psychopath or a sociopath, I don't know,” he said.

    “On the way here I was trying to psych myself up, I was asking 'Why don't I feel nervous or anything?'.

    “I just can't get to the bottom of it right now and it's probably best I don't find out until I finish boxing.”

    Glenn McCrory, Carl Thompson, Johnny Nelson, Enzo Maccarinelli, David Haye and Tony Bellew all spoke in the documentary 'Next In Line' about how winning that world title was 'their moment'.

    • Frank Warren gives the latest on Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua as venue talks continue

    But for Okolie, who has also started starring music videos as well as releasing a book, this is just another chapter in his story.

    “I can't see it being 'the moment'. I plan to unify, I play to move up to heavyweight,” he added.

    “This has come a lot quicker than it did for other champions, so I'm trying not to put too much on it. “Maybe that is my defence mechanism – that I'm not putting too much on this particular guy, this particular day, this particular belt.”

    • Anthony Joshua
    • Boxing

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