Bravose Previews: The title fights happening in July 2019
by Kate Rosindale on Jun 15, 2019
Lawrence Okolie v Jack Massey British and Commonwealth cruiserweight titles
On Saturday 6 July, British cruiserweight Lawrence Okolie will defend his British and Commonwealth belts against Jack Massey at Manchester Arena.
It is Okolie’s first fight since his fourth-round TKO of London rival Wadi Camacho in March. Since then it has been all change for Okolie, who has started working with new trainer Shane McGuigan. Now he claims he will win his first world title in the next year.
He said: "I am going to enjoy beating Jack in front of all of his fans. He has criticised me publicly and openly and I want to use my frustration to beat him in the most convincing way possible. If I beat Jack, I will start making my way to the world level. I do believe I will win a world title inside 12 months.”
Meanwhile, Massey said: “I am over the moon to be getting this shot at the British and Commonwealth titles. I have the utmost respect for Lawrence. I know it is a huge step up for me but I am ready. I will be bringing a big crowd on the night and I promise to put on a show.”
Daniel Dubois v Nathan Gorman British heavyweight title
On Saturday 13 July, the O2 will witness the fight for the vacant British heavyweight title between two of boxing’s hottest prospects, Daniel Dubois and Nathan Gorman.
Both fighters are undefeated and will see this as an opportunity to announce themselves on the world stage. Gorman, who won by a unanimous decision in his last fight, has claimed he’s surprised Dubois took the fight, and doesn’t expect this one to go the distance.
He said: “It is a fight I have wanted from the day I turned professional and I am counting down the days. We were on the GB squad together for two to three years. I have the edge in everything he does. I have an answer for everything he does. Daniel is a little stop on my way to a destination.”
But Dubois says otherwise: “Whatever he has to say or thinks happened in the past when we sparred has no bearing on this and I can’t wait to show what I can do. I have the advantage over Nathan in speed and power which plays a massive advantage. The big goals are within my reach.”
Manny Pacquiao v Keith Thurman WBA welterweight title
Manny Pacquiao and Keith Thurman will meet at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday 20 July to solidify the WBA welterweight title.
Thurman is currently the ‘super’ champion, while Pacquiao holds the lesser ‘regular’ belt, unusually making Pacman the underdog. In January Thurman returned after two years to beat Josesito Lopez. A week earlier Pacquiao had comprehensively out-boxed Adrien Broner.
While in one breath Thurman is calling Pacquiao a legend, in the next he promises to end his ring career. He said: “He belongs as a senator in the Philippines. Trash talk doesn’t mean nothing, but when he is on that mat and catching that ‘night night’, it’s really going to mean something.”
But Pacquiao appears not to be fazed: “I have been in boxing for two decades and I am never scared or intimidated with my opponent. I will make sure I am in 100% condition and ready. It is going to be exciting and I like it. I like that I am the underdog for this fight. This is fun, this is what I want.”
Caleb Plant v Mike Lee IBF super-middleweight title
The undercard on Saturday 20 July at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas features undefeated fighters Caleb Plant and Mike Lee, in Plant’s first defence of his IBF super middleweight belt.
Plant beat Jose Uzcategui to take the title in January, and he has undoubtedly become one of the best 168-pound fighters around. Meanwhile all of Lee’s previous fights have been as a light heavyweight, with his lowest-ever weight registering at 173 pounds.
Plant, who dedicated his last victory to his late daughter Alia, said: "This guy is undefeated and looking to stay that way, but unfortunately for him, he took on the wrong challenge against the wrong guy. This fight I'm dedicating to my beautiful mother Beth Ann. May you Rest in Peace.”
Lee also has personal reasons for wanting to win: "When I spent almost two years in and out of hospitals battling an autoimmune disease there were doctors who told me my fighting days were done. But I have won every fight since and I plan to prove that anything is possible if you want it bad enough.”
Maurice Hooker v Jose Ramirez World super-lightweight titles
Come Saturday 27 July, College Center Park in Dallas will play host to Maurice Hooker and Jose Ramirez in the fight for the world super-lightweight titles.
It is a division that has struggled with perception, suffering the ‘little brother’ stigma being as it is seven pounds lighter than the Welterweight 147-pound limit. But this match-up of two undefeated champions should work wonders in terms of elevating the appeal of the division.
Either way, Hooker is focused on the win for his own sake if not for the division’s: “I want to show the world that I’m the best in the 140-pound division. It will be a thrill to do this in front of my home crowd and I’m looking forward to the energy. I am a dream killer, and Ramirez will be my next victim.”
Ramirez has other ideas: “I am ready for my opportunity to unify the titles. I know this fight can take my career to the next level. I want to make it easier for people to decide who the best 140-pounder truly is. It is sometimes easier fighting someone in his backyard. As the underdog, I have everything to win.”