Lawrence Okolie making a move into the new bridgerweight division would be welcomed by the World Boxing Council.
The WBC created the weight class at 224lbs and believes it has “many virtues” despite the fact it is not recognised by any other world title sanctioning body.
Lawrence Okolie lost his WBO cruiserweight world title in a wild fight with Chris Billam-Smith. If he moved up to bridgerweight he would be ranked and get himself in the frame for a shot at the WBC title there.
“Absolutely,” WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman told Sky Sports. “That’s one of the virtues [of the new division]. Just like Evander Holyfield, a cruiserweight then he grew into heavyweight, bridgerweight is another possibility for cruiserweights. To grow into bridger and eventually heavyweight.”
He argues that this new division can be a route towards an eventual title fight at heavyweight.
“Absolutely, without having to give up, 50 pounds, 60 pounds [in an initial move to heavyweight],” Sulaiman said.
“Remember every bridgerweight fighter is also accepted as a contender at heavyweight. So it is a division that has many virtues.”
The current bridgerweight titlist is Lukasz Rozanski who crushed Alen Babic inside a round to win the belt.
His next fight will be a mandatory defence against Kevin Lerena, but Okolie, if he chose to, could make a move towards boxing the winner of that contest.
“We have the champion Rozanski, from Poland and the ‘silver’ champion [Ryad] Merhy lost to Lerena in South Africa. So Lerena will fight mandatorily against Rozanski, which should be a sensational fight,” Sulaiman said.
The bridgerweight title however does not have the same credibility as the established championships.
“The world, as human nature, it’s always rejecting changes. Human nature is to push and not consider any changes. But we’re proud of changes in the boxing world: 15 to 12 rounds, the weigh-in the day before, the changes in gloves,” Sulaiman said.
“So many medical innovations we have instituted. The [use of] instant replay. There is pushback [but] every single bridgerweight fight has been sensational. Every single one.
“It’s small heavyweights, with good athleticism, power, 224 pounds. Great fights.”