Shane McGuigan discusses next possible opponents for Lawrence Okolie and Daniel Dubois

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Lawrence Okolie

Okolie and Dubois both hoping for big tests next (Picture: Getty)

Lawrence Okolie is unlikely to get his wish of adding a second world title to his collection this year with WBC champion Ilunga Makabu pricing himself out of a fight.

The Hackney fighter is on a mission to unify the cruiserweight division before following in the footsteps of Evander Holyfield and David Haye by becoming world champion at heavyweight.

Okolie knocked out Krzysztof Glowacki to win his WBO title in March before swatting aside mandatory challenger Dilan Prasovic in September. It had been hoped a contest against one of the divisions other world champions could be booked in before the end of the year but those hopes could be fading.

IBF champion Mairis Briedis is set to defend his belt against Artur Mann in Latvia this weekend with WBA champion Arsen Goulamirian likely to take on Alexei Egorov in a bout that is currently in the works for November.

With Makabu currently asking for ‘silly money’, Okolie’s trainer Shane McGuigan is eager to line up unification fights potentially starting with Goulamirian in February – adding there is no temptation to make the step to heavyweight until his current division has been cleared out.   

Okolie made quick work of Prasovic on the Joshua vs Usyk undercard (Picture: Getty)

‘Lawrence does everything in double quick time and we need to really push him on now,’ McGuigan told Metro.co.uk.

‘We want to make the Ilunga Makabu fight but he is asking for silly money, he knows he is going to get beaten and I think he knows this could be one of his last opportunities to get a big pay day. That is kind of ruling that one out for the time being.

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‘Arsen Goulamirian, it looks like he’s facing Alexei Egorov before end of the year so we could look to have the unification for the WBA before the end of February. Briedis is boxing soon so he won’t be ready to go before the end of the year but if we can get unification early next year then that is ideal.

‘From there on in, it is a mission to get those other belts and become undisputed before moving up because there are not massive opportunities for Lawrence up at heavyweight yet.

‘He has got the WBO belt so he would be able to move up and challenge for the world title. But there you have the [Oleksandr] Usyk and [Anthony] Joshua rematch along with Tyson Fury in the mix too. So it is backlogged up there, so let’s do all we can down at cruiser.’.

McGuigan is also eager for another of his fighters in Daniel Dubois to secure the sort of tests that will have him prepared to challenge for world titles in the very near future.  

Dubois needs ‘acid tests’ says McGuigan (Picture: Getty)

The Londoner fell to his first professional defeat to Joe Joyce last November, linking up with McGuigan in May and breezing through his first two fights under his new trainer against Bogdan Dinu and Joe Cusumano.

McGuigan identifies Dereck Chisora and Joseph Parker, who meet in December, as two possible opponents for his young heavyweight, admitting the 24-year-old still needs greater tests as he edges towards world title contention.

‘We still need to do a lot of learning,’ McGuigan said. ‘He needs those acid tests. We’ve had maybe three rounds in the fights we have had together but we have had quality sparring, him and Lawrence do six to eight rounds at least once a week when they are in camp.

‘But he needs a test, he needs those guys who are going to bring him on and have him look into himself. The only time he has been tested was against Joyce and he had a fractured orbital and it didn’t work out.

‘There are quite a few fights out there that I would like for him, whether it is the Joseph Parker fight, whether it is the Dereck Chisora fight. Those are the ones I believe he can win but that can take him eight rounds, maybe more, where he has to figure them out and be really alert.

‘It is a bit like Lawrence going in against Prasovic, he knows he is going to go in there and just knock this guy out. That is bad for the mindset.

Daniel is the sort of guy who wants to be challenged and fight the big names so it up to Frank [Warren, Dubois’ promoter] and Martin [Bowers, Dubois’ manager] to really deliver that. I believe they will, in the next 12 to 18 months I think we are going to have a couple of really decent challenges.

‘Dereck is at a stage now where he is after a pay check. Joseph Parker has done well for himself too but I don’t think he would fancy getting knocked out by a 24-year-old Dubois. But Chisora is as game as they come.’


MORE : ‘You are going to see a lot more of what Dan is capable of!’ – Shane McGuigan fires Daniel Dubois warning ahead of US debut


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