Lawrence Okolie says the influence of trainer Shane McGuigan has kept him grounded as he prepares to bid for a place in the big-time on Saturday night.
Okolie will become the first male member of Great Britain’s 2016 Olympics squad to claim a professional world title if he beats Poland’s Krzysztof Glowacki for the WBO cruiserweight crown.
The unbeaten 28-year-old has bashed through all but three of his 15 previous victims inside the distance and is bursting with self-confidence as he prepares to take on the former two-time champion.
But Okolie admitted: “Shane picks on me and bullies me every single day in the gym, and that’s good for me.
“I’m a very confident character but Shane is very much the type of trainer who will say, ‘you haven’t won a world title, and I’m trainer of the year’, and that has set a standard for me.”
Glowacki, whose only losses in his 33 professional fights came against world-class pair Oleksandr Usyk and Mairis Briedis, represents a significant step up in class for Okolie.
But Okolie is adamant he will once again go all out to finish the job early in order to minimise the risk of picking up an injury that could derail his hopes of going on to unify the cruiserweight crowns.
“Really and truly I don’t enjoy the time in the ring because you’re constantly in danger and there’s a chance of hurting your hands,” added Okolie
“So I’m interested in getting my fights over quickly and efficiently. There’s more accolades in knockouts than 12-round scrappy fights, so I’d rather get the accolades.”