From Fast Food Worker To Boxing Champion: The Inspiring Story Of A Nigerian Shining On Global Stage
Just like Anthony Joshua, another boxer of Nigerian descent, Lawrence Okolie, has made history following his victory over Poland’s Krzysztof Glowacki to claim the vacant WBO Cruiserweight title.
Głowacki had only lost to Oleksandr Usyk and Mairis Briedis in 33 fights but Okolie succeeded in starching the former two-time world champion with a brutal right hand to finish the fight in the 6th round.
His journey to fame is a tale of life changing determination as he had to fight0ff bullying for being overweight and ridiculed many times due to his African heritage.
“It’s good to show myself how far I’ve come from being that kid who was being bullied and overweight,” Okolie told BBC Radio 5 Live in an interview.
How Boxing Career started
Okolie narrated that his journey to get in shape informed his boxing career. His success in University tournaments also put him on the radar of scouts that selected the Great Britain contingents to the 2016 Rio Olympics where he won the silver medal.
“I was the kid struggling to run laps. We started (Boxing) when I was losing weight jogging around this block. It takes six or seven minutes. I remember being able to do one and then being really proud of myself to get around it twice.”
He turned to a professional boxer in 2017 signing with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Sport to compete in the cruiserweight division.
His first professional fight took place at the Manchester Arena where he knocked out 33-year-old Geoffrey Cave in a fight that lasted for 20 seconds only. He would go on to win 15 other fights to claim many titles, including the British and Commonwealth belts at cruiserweight.
McDonalds and AJ’s Connection
Okolie was a former crew member of McDonald, an American fast food company in the UK where he worked as a retail staff. He had said in tweet how his life transformed from £5 per hour at McDonalds to being a famous boxer.
In 2012 he had watched Anthony Joshua, Nicola Adams and Luke Campbell win medals while he worked in McDonalds. Now he is the first man from Team GB’s 2016 Olympic team to win a world title as a professional.
“We’ve had so many great world champions in history so to add my name to that list is going to be amazing,” added Okolie, before his victory over Glowacki. “I’m going to go out there and do what needs to be done to bring the belt home.”