Lawrence Okolie has defended his world cruiserweight title by unanimous decision against David Light.
The judges scored the bout 116-112, 119-108, 117-110 after a tough 12 rounds for both fighters at the AO Arena.
Okolie hadn’t fought since last February and it did show at times, as the Brit looked a little tentative in throwing his right hand and failed to fully take control for much of the fight.
He didn’t look close to stopping his opponent until the tenth round, but did a good job of dictating terms by keeping him at arms length.
Okolie was deducted a point in the penultimate round for leaning down on the Kiwi, and the fight was laced with scrappy moments.
In truth, Light offered very little threat to the world champion, but he did show a phenomenal chin once Okokie started to click into gear in the later rounds.
At the start of the tenth, The Sauce landed three huge right hands to the chin in a row and Light’s legs did buckle for a moment, but he found a way to stay on his feet and recovered brilliantly to end the round.
Light took an even bigger right hand in the 11th round but again refused to go down, showing off a chin that few in the division can rival.
It was still a disappointing evening for the challenger, who loses his undefeated record after lacking aggression across the 12 rounds.
Okolie praised his opponent’s resilience after the fight, as he told Sky Sports: “David Light was extremely tough and he had a good tactic of moving around to his right, but at the end of the day, there’s no need to make excuses – just get better.
“I just couldn’t get the last shot to drop him and get him out of there because he was very tough and very good with his hand defences.”
On what might be next for the world champion, he added: “I will go in the ring and fight anyone.
“If they’re watching this and they think ‘Lawrence is rubbish, I can do this, I can do that,’ come and find out.
“I’ll put it on the line against anyone and if they’re good enough to beat me, they are, and if not I carry on winning.”
Saturday’s victory was Okolie’s third successful defence of the world cruiserweight title, which he initially won by beating Krzysztof Głowacki in 2021.
His professional record now stands at 19-0-0, with 14 of those wins coming by knockout.