Rio 2016: Okolie’s Olympic dream over

PUBLISHED: 07:52 09 August 2016 | UPDATED: 07:52 09 August 2016

Lawrence Okolie relaxes with team-mate Nicola Adams at the Rio Olympics (pic: David Davies/PA)

Lawrence Okolie relaxes with team-mate Nicola Adams at the Rio Olympics (pic: David Davies/PA)

PA/Press Association Images

Heavyweight beaten by classy Cuban

Lawrence Okolie’s medal dream at the Rio Olympic Games was ended as he lost a points verdict against star Cuban Erislandy Savon late last night.

But there was no disgrace in defeat for the 23-year-old Dagenham BC heavyweight, who gave a display that rates alongside the best of his 26-bout career against a rival who defeated him in just one round three months ago.

There was the threat of a repeat performance as Hackney’s Okolie was dropped in the very first minute of the return contest by the Cuban’s explosive right hand, which caused the problems in their earlier meeting.

However, a game Okolie showed his fighting heart as he slammed back and not only survived the first round, but rocked his rival with his own right at the start of the second round.

The University of East London student continued to trade punches landing long range jabs against the classy Cuban, who took some solid shots but stayed ahead on all the judges scorecards for a unanimous decision to move into the last eight of the 91kg competition.

Okolie said: “It was good and bad. It was bad because I didn’t get the decision, but good because I have progressed since the last fight where it was stopped in round one.

“This went three rounds and I believe there were a couple of rounds that were quite close. I felt like the knockdown in the first round took a lot of momentum that I was trying to build.

“I tried to claw it back in the last two, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to. It was good because I am showing the progress in six weeks from a first-round stoppage to that, so in another six weeks, six months, hopefully I can keep progressing and get to that next level again.

“I was working in McDonald’s watching him [Savon] fight Anthony Joshua, watching him in the Olympics, watching him get to the final of the worlds before I was even on the Great Britain team.

“And I have gone from that to now being in the ring with him twice in under two months. I have got time on my side, belief, hunger and ability.

“I was beaten by one of the top heavyweights here, but took him all the way after he stopped me in just one round earlier.

“I will work hard and come back a better fighter. I know I can go right to the top,”

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