Feature | Feb 02 2019

The lessons Lawrence Okolie learned from joining Tyson Fury’s training camp

Lawrence Okolie is already willing to move past British level. He speaks to John Dennen
Deion Jumah on Lawrence Okolie
Deion Jumah takes aim at British champion Lawrence Okolie Action Images/Peter Cziborra

Frustrating with opponents falling through (Lawrence Okolie fights late replacement Tamas Lodi at the O2 on Saturday)?

It’s frustrating but it’s also a good learning curve again. Because when I first turning pro I had to deal with this kind of thing. Before it was only four or six rounders, it never really mattered. Now I’ve won a few belts so in my mind I thought it would be a lot easier. It’s frustrating to train myself as hard as I need to to get 10, 12 round fit without having a name to motivate myself. I’ve had to learn a bit of self-motivation. It’s been difficult and it’s taken a while.

When you were in camp with Tyson Fury were there things you learned from that experience?

Definitely. There were some good mixed martial artists out there as well that helped me with training, with the inside work. Because Tyson’s a lot taller, so the roles were reversed. I need to work on getting my shots off against some who’s taller and trying to move. So it was good. He’s not the most physically gifted person in the world. He’s got very good feet and decent reactions. He’s not very, very strong, nothing crazy. But he’s able to be one of the best fighters in the world based on boxing so it was good to see that.

Did how well he performed against Deontay Wilder surprise you?

After seeing him in sparring and seeing what he had to say I believed he was capable of a performance like that because a lot of people are deluded about boxing. They feel like they can’t be hurt or ‘this person can’t do anything to me, I’m too good’. But he’s very realistic. That’s something I respect in fighters when they understand getting hurt is possible and losing is in some ways possible. But knowing how to react to certain different situations, so when you get put down what to do or if you get buzzed, stuff like that. He spoke openly and honestly about that in training camp. So when it happened in the fight, seeing how he responded was good.

Were there any issues with you going into their camp given that you’re friends with Anthony Joshua, Anthony Joshua’s your manager?

No issues from Tyson Fury’s camp and no issues with AJ. It was just what it was. I provided good work for him and that was it. I was respectful and he was respectful so it was easy.

Obviously, you’ve sparred both of them, can you compare them?

Of course, Tyson Fury’s taller and Joshua’s stronger… Obviously I’m Team AJ. I don’t want to talk about it until that fight’s made.

Lawrrence Okolie

Who do you see as possible British title defences?

I might not wait around for it. Maybe win the Commonwealth title back from Wadi [Camacho] if he accepts the fight and maybe decide to move on past that to international names. Give myself something to motivate me. I don’t like any British cruiserweights full stop. I feel like they’ve all got the wrong idea of what boxing is. They sit there and they criticise my performances but they’re not ready to take risks against other fighters.

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