Joshua vs Povetkin: Lawrence Okolie is targeting a world cruiserweight title by 2020

Lawrence Okolie is targeting a world title by 2020 and hopes an emphatic win over Matty Askin will keep him on a collision course with the elite cruiserweights.

The unbeaten 25-year-old will test himself against British champion Askin on the undercard for Anthony Joshua’s world heavyweight title fight with Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium on September 22, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

With seven knockouts in nine wins, Okolie has already blasted his way to the Commonwealth belt, and intends to continue the swift progress that he has shown since he was an amateur boxer.

“I had the option to either stay as a Great Britain Olympic boxer and try and go to the Commonwealth Games, Europeans, Olympics, but I decided to turn professional, so I wanted to keep that momentum going,” Okolie told Sky Sports.

0:50 Okolie ripped the Commonwealth belt from Luke Watkins with a KO win

“I’ve won the Commonwealth, I’m going to win the British, then the European, and then we go to world.”

Okolie has already proven himself against his fellow domestic prospects, defeating Isaac Chamberlain and Luke Watkins this year, and relishes the chance to face more threatening fighters as he attempts to fulfil his full potential.

“It’s stuff to work towards,” said the Hackney man. “Put myself in potentially dangerous situations to get the best out of myself, because I feel like what happens is – if you’re boxing journeyman or people that you know you’re going to beat every time, you end up in your inner cocoon. When you have to step out of that inner cocoon, stuff’s different, I’m being hit.

“It enables me personally to get a lot better, a lot quicker, because I know I have to get up and go for the run.

“I have to train, otherwise I’m not going to be the best I can be. Once I’m the best I can be, there’s not many people that I worry about, full stop.”

“I think he’s fringe world level,” said Okolie. “He’s above the British standard at the moment and underneath world level.

“I feel like he’s a step-up to show I’m above British level and I want to be fighting at the European, fringe world level before I push on to world level.

“It depends on how I beat him. I expect to beat him in good convincing fashion, so that will show I’m above this level and we can go from there.”

Watch Anthony Joshua defend his world heavyweight titles against Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium, on September 22, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

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