Lawrence Okolie could finally face Mairis Briedis in a cruiserweight unification clash this summer if both fighters make it past their next fights – according to the Latvian star’s promoter Kalle Sauerland.
British star Okolie currently holds the WBO cruiserweight world title belt, while Briedis holds the IBF title – and both fighters have been urged to step into the ring to unify the titles in what would be highly-anticipated showdown.
Both fighters have expressed an interest in getting the deal done – but Okolie must first face Michal Cieslak next month, while Briedis has a mandatory defence against Jai Opetaia in Australia. However, Sauerland insists the fight can happen as soon as this summer should both men make it past their next challenges.
Lawrence Okolie (L) and Mairis Briedis (R) could final settle their score in a cruiserweight unification clash this summer, according to the Latvian’s promoter
Kalle Sauerland says he sees ‘no reason’ why it can’t happen if they both make it through their next mandatory defences
‘Okolie is a fight we have looked at and talked about,’ Sauerland told Sportsmail.
‘They’ve said we haven’t made an offer. It’s quite simple. We’ve been discussing the fight with Eddie [Hearn] for about a year. We were told there would be an offer incoming, then we got a mandatory, which will be Jai Opetaia in Australia. That will be in March or April, then we’re free.
‘They’ve got a fight against Cieslak – we’ll get through our fight, they’ll get through their fight. We’ve got a good relationship with [Okolie’s promoters] Matchroom and there’s no reason that fight can’t happen in the summer.’
Despite all the calls for Okolie and Briedis to get down to business, it seems the IBF champion – who has just one defeat on his record, a majority decision loss to Oleksandr Usyk – is distracted by a possible lucrative fight in the United States.
British star Okolie will defend his WBO title against Michal Cieslak next month but has declared his interest in taking on the feared Briedis
Briedis is set to travel to Australia in the Spring to fight Jai Opetaia but wants Okolie after
He went to incredible lengths to call out YouTuber Jake Paul – getting a tattoo to challenge him, which reads ‘Jake’s bad karma’, and has stoke the flames further – posting a video wishing him happy birthday and vowing to ‘kick his a**’.
His rival Okolie, unbeaten with 17 straight victories, immediately pounced on the picture of his new ink – which went viral – calling it ’embarrassing’ and accusing him of ‘selling his soul’.
‘I thought it has to be fake,’ he told talkSport. ‘I’m gonna message him privately and find out if that’s a real or fake tattoo. Because if it’s a real tattoo it’s embarrassing, if it’s fake it’s embarrassing as well.
‘To now be sort of selling your soul for likes and retweets and a bit of clout basically – you’re a well respected person in your country and a 37-year-old man, chasing after a 24-year-old YouTuber who’s a novice boxer, it’s baffling.’
However, Briedis has called out YouTuber Jake Paul on social media in recent weeks – and Sauerland says he is serious about the lucrative bout
But while Sauerland dismissed the stunt as ‘tongue in cheek’, he said his fighter was indeed serious about facing Paul due to the financial implications it would involved – admitting he would ‘be on the first plane to New York’ if he received an offer from the American’s team.
‘It’s a bit of tongue in cheek with Jake Paul,’ he added, ‘It’s a real tattoo. You know, there’s good laser shops these days…
‘He’s a bit bored in lockdown in Latvia, he’s training every day and I think he’s just genuinely seen this guy say he wants to fight boxers, he’s got excited and thought – “he’s an easy fight and commercially it’s very interesting so why not?”
Briedis incredibly got a tattoo reading ‘bad karma’ to call out the American in a video posted on social media last week
‘I said to Mairis – “do me a favour, is this finished now with Paul?” He said, “no, why?”
‘Eddie Hearn said it was embarrassing, but if Jake Paul called us up now, I’d be on the first plane to New York! Briedis can prepare for that in his training camp for his next proper fight.’
But Sauerland conceded that the liklihood of the fight actually taking place is remote – saying he is yet to receive an offer and believes Paul would shirk from the challenge after a simply glance at Briedis’ knockout reel.
‘Mairis is getting a kick out of the reaction, the tattoo had thousands of likes,’ he said. ‘I think he’s serious about fighting him, but I don’t think Jake Paul is going to him. My phone has not rung. I’m sure he’s googled Briedis knockouts and he’ll think twice.’