Lawrence Okolie outpoints Isaac Chamberlain, fails to shine

Cruiserweight contender Lawrence Okolie, right, outpointed Issac Chamberlain at The O2 Arena in London. Leigh Dawney/Getty Images

Lawrence Okolie dominated English cruiserweight rival Isaac Chamberlain in a scrappy affair Saturday night that failed to live up to the pre-fight hype.

Okolie was too big and too strong for Chamberlain, forcing two knockdowns before triumphing by a landslide 98-89, 96-90 and 97-89 points decision at the O2 Arena in south London.

It was the first time Okolie (8-0, six KOs) had been taken 10 rounds and the first time Chamberlain (9-1, four KOs) had been beaten.

"This is good as a benchmark, I'm going to push on from here," Okolie said.

"I knew it wasn't going to be [pretty]. I kept hurting him. I knew that boxing is not just about slipping but about ring generalship. I said he was going to find it hard working on the inside with someone as strong as me."

Okolie also spoke of facing Welshman Craig Kennedy (16-1, 8 KOs) next, possibly at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on March 31.

Okolie, 25, a 2016 Olympian for Great Britain and now managed by IBF-WBA world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, made a good start and put Chamberlain down for a count in the second minute.

A right from Okolie appeared to only glance the side of Chamberlain's head but it was enough to send him tumbling backwards for a count.

Chamberlain's legs were shaky when he got back up but he managed to avoid another crisis for the rest of the first round.

Chamberlain, 23, had another setback in the second when he was deducted a point for holding as Okolie continued to look the stronger.

Okolie already had a comfortable points lead after three rounds and it turned messy in the middle rounds, with a lot of holding and wrestling.

Chamberlain had quality sparring with WBC-WBO world cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk last month, but sharing a ring with arguably the best in the division could not help him when it mattered.

He was unable to offer much of a threat to Okolie, who after an impressive two rounds then found it more difficult to land clean punches.

But Okolie did connect with a clean right hand on the counter in the sixth round which staggered Chamberlain and forced him to touch down with a glove, earning a count.

Okolie had a point deducted in round nine, but by then the fight had become a predictable procession.