Joe Gallagher “Okolie needs a KO to guarantee victory”

RZESZOW, POLAND (May 22, 2024) – Coach Joe Gallagher says Lawrence Okolie will need a knockout to guarantee victory when he travels to hostile territory to challenge Lukasz Rozanski for the WBC World Bridgerweight Title on Friday, May 24th in Rzeszow, Poland, live on Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland.


Gallagher is the man tasked with rebuilding Okolie as he bids to become a two-weight world champion following his loss to Chris Billam-Smith for the WBO World Cruiserweight crown last May at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth.

The pair linked up following a sparring session in Saudi Arabia with Okolie later relocating to Manchester to train under Gallagher’s tutelage at Moss Side’s legendary Champs Camp gym.

“It came about when I was over in Saudi,” explains Gallagher. “Joe Parker needed some sparring, so he asked Lawrence who asked me if I would do the corner for him. He did well. Then at the beginning of the year he came over to Manchester and did a few sessions with me and was talking about a possible fight.

“With Lawrence, he’s achieved an awful lot in a short period of time but I wanted to know if he really had it so I said; ‘listen, I need you here in Manchester in Champs Camp Moss Side. Let’s get you in a gym full of hungry fighters and see if you still have that grit and desire.’ He answered that. I could see he’s still got it and the fire is still burning in the belly. That’s what I wanted to see from him.”

Gallagher believes a move up to bridgerweight is the ‘perfect move’ for the Rio 2016 Olympian ahead of a potential transition to heavyweight.

I think this is the perfect move for him,” says Gallagher. “To move up to bridgerweight will give him a good idea of how he will cope at heavyweight without having to go up to that division. It’s a chance for him to become a two-weight world champion, get that WBC belt and put himself back on the boxing map.”

To become a two-weight world champion behind enemy lines and to take the WBC World Title from hometown fighter Rozanski, Gallagher has warned Okolie that he cannot risk a points decision and must go for the knockout. 

“I’ve told Lawrence he needs to knock him out,” said Gallagher. “I’ve said to him since day one that if he thinks he’s going to go over there and win on points he’s absolutely mad. That’s just not how it’s going to be. There’s going to be a hostile crowd. He’s got to look to knock him out in round one or two, even ten or eleven but he can’t let it go to points.

“We’re going over there to get the knockout. He’s got to go in there like Emanuel Steward and that Kronk style. He’s not going to get any favours. It’ll be hostile. He has to upset him any way he can. He’s got to be like Hagler when he came to Britain to face Minter. He’s got to do an absolute number on him and have the plane running ready to bring the belt back to England.”

This event is presented in association with official partner Integritas Property Group.

Watch Lukasz Rozanski vs Lawrence Okolie for the WBC World Bridgerweight Title live and exclusive on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Action from 22:00 (BST).

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