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Lawrence Okolie will be hoping to defend his WBO cruiserweight world title with a strong showing against Polish challenger Michal Cieslak this evening. The undefeated Brit will go into the bout as the overwhelming favourite to claim the spoils but could face a tricky test in overcoming the challenge posed by Cieslak if he is not careful.
Cieslak has only lost once during his nine-year professional career, with his sole defeat coming in the form of a 12-round unanimous decision at the hands of Ilunga Makabu in 2020.
He later followed up with two commanding stoppage wins over Taylor Mabika and Yury Kashinsky and will be hoping to upset the odds with another dominant performance tonight.
Meanwhile, Okolie will be making the second defence of his WBO strap after earning a stunning third-round victory over Dilan Prasovic in his last outing back in September.
He will likely face the toughest challenge of his career against Cieslak, though, and will need to be firing on all cylinders to avoid an embarrassing fall from grace at the O2 Arena.
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A victory would boost Okolie’s hopes of sealing a high-profile unification fight against IBF champion Mairis Briedis before the end of the year.
The Hackney-born fighter is also said to be eyeing a move into the heavyweight division in the near future and will be looking to overcome tests of this nature before trying his luck with the big boys.
Elsewhere on this evening’s card, Campbell Hatton will go up against Joe Ducker as the Manchester-born fighter aims to continue his rapid rise up the lightweight ranks.
Fabio Wardley will also be looking to add to his impressive early record against Daniel Martz, while Olympic gold medalist Galal Yafai will go in search of a winning start to his professional boxing career against Carlos Vado Bautista.
Express Sport brings you all the important details you need to know to watch tonight’s action.
Lawrence Okolie vs Michal Cieslak (WBO cruiserweight title)
Galal Yafai vs Carlos Vado Bautista (WBC international flyweight title)
Karim Guerfi vs Jordan Gill (European featherweight title)
Anthony Fowler vs Lukasz Maciec (middleweight)
Fabio Wardley vs Daniel Martz (heavyweight)
Campbell Hatton vs Joe Ducker (lightweight)
Cheavon Clarke vs Tino Visic (crusierweight)
John Hedges vs Aleksander Nagolski (light-heavyweight)
Demsey McKean vs Ariel Esteban Bracamonte (heavyweight)
Live stream and fight times
The entire card will be shown on the DAZN platform, a subscription for which will cost you £7.99 a month.
DAZN will also be offering a live streaming service through their app, which can be downloaded on the App Store or via Google Play.
Their extended coverage will begin at 3pm and can be viewed on smart TVs, game consoles, connected devices, mobile, tablets and computers.
The ring walks for the main event are currently scheduled for around 9pm, but this could be subject to delays on the night.
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What has been said?
Okolie recently insisted that he will be too strong for Cieslak, who he thinks will simply be another obstacle between himself and a highly-anticipated unification fight in the near future.
“I believe I’m going to go on to unify the division,” he said earlier this week. “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.”
Meanwhile, Cieslak has also underlined his ability to claim the spoils as he looks to represent his native Poland with pride at the O2 Arena.
“It’s surely a big fight for Polish boxing,” he added. “I can’t wait to actually attend the fight, I’m training very hard, and I can’t wait to fight.
“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.”
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