Okolie won’t be facing Denis Lebedev next after all.
Despite talk of rising cruiserweight Lawrence Okolie facing WBA titleholder Denis Lebedev next, that’s not happening. Matchroom announced today that Okolie will instead defend his British and Commonwealth titles against Jack Massey on July 6 in Manchester.
Junior middleweight prospect Scott Fitzgerald will also return on the card, taking on veteran and former world title challenger Brian Rose.
Okolie (12-0, 9 KO) took the British cruiserweight title last September, beating Matty Askin on points in a fight where he was penalized three points for fouls. He added the Commonwealth belt (which he’d already won once before) with a March 23 stoppage of Wadi Camacho.
Massey (16-0, 8 KO) is a 26-year-old who has faced extremely limited opposition thus far and will be a huge underdog against Okolie.
Fitzgerald (13-0, 9 KO) is coming off of a terrific win over Anthony Fowler on March 30, dropping Fowler in the 10th and final round to secure the win, which otherwise would have been a majority draw on the cards. The 27-year-old is looking at a potential British title clash with Ted Cheeseman (who returns June 21) later this year if all goes well.
Rose (31-5-1, 8 KO) is a 34-year-old veteran who won the British title at 154 in 2011 and defended three times. In 2014, he took a shot at the WBO title held by Demetrius Andrade, who absolutely dominated Rose and stopped him in the seventh round.
Rose’s career looked on thin ice after a stunning TKO-1 loss to Carson Jones in 2015, but he bounced back to outpoint Jones in a rematch about six months later. He lost to Matthew Macklin in 2016 and Jack Arnfield in 2017, and hasn’t actually made 154 since the rematch with Jones four years ago.
Matchroom says that the show’s main event and full lineup will be revealed next week.
The card will air on Sky Sports in the UK and stream live on DAZN in the US.