Lawrence Okolie has told William Hill that watching fellow British boxer Anthony Joshua coming through the ranks when he was younger has been a great inspiration for him.

Okolie, who made his debut in 2017, has enjoyed an impressive start in the professional game, with a 100% record from his 14 bouts, while he currently holds the EBU European Cruiserweight and WBA Continental Cruiserweight titles.

And it was seeing current WBA, WBO and IBF world heavyweight champion Joshua progress as an amateur, culminating with his gold medal win at the 2012 Olympics, that Okolie claims has had a significant impact on his own career.

“AJ is someone I watched before the Olympics,” Okolie told William Hill. “I watched him locally, at the ABAs [England Boxing National Amateur Championships].

“I used to hear his name whispered around, ‘ah there’s this big dangerous guy…’ Then I saw him win the GB Championships, the Europeans, the Worlds…

‘So, when it got to the Olympics I was already invested in him, and to see him go on and win it was amazing for me because it showed someone could start locally and end up becoming global, so…”

Joshua provided the ‘blueprint’

Okolie, who hails from Hackney in London, followed in Joshua’s footsteps by going on to compete at the 2016 Olympics for Great Britain in Rio de Janeiro.

“[Thanks to Anthony] you can see the blueprint, as it were, laid out,” Okolie added. “OK, win this, win that, and you’re there.

“So it really pushed me, and I said to myself, ‘I’m going to the Olympics, 2016’. I didn’t want to wait until 2020. So 2016, I’m going to knuckle down and get it done.”

Okolie is reportedly next in line to fight Poland’s Krzysztof Glowacki for the vacant WBO World Cruiserweight title later this year.

Joshua, meanwhile, is currently next scheduled to fight Kubrat Pulev on June 20 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, where he is the 1/10 favourite to claim victory.

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