LAWRENCE OKOLIE has talked his world title tilt into existence after a lifetime defying lottery-like odds with the power of his brain.
The 28-year-old Hackney cruiserweight, now on the cusp of a WBO world title, was once an overweight bully’s punchbag dreaming of luxury cars and sporting success.
Lawrence Okolie spoke his title shot into existence[/caption]
The 28-year-old Hackney cruiserweight is now on the cusp of a WBO world title[/caption]
But a series of striking coincidences and a religious-like faith in visualisation has helped the former McDonalds burger flipper turn his tough childhood into a stunning success story.
Ahead of his Wembley arena clash with Krzysztof Glowacki, Okolie explained to SunSport how finding an old car key and buying an Olympic 2012 tracksuit helped him speak his dreams into reality.
“When I was a kid I found a Mercedes key fob on the floor, picked it up and kept it, pretended I had one, convinced myself that one day I would,” The 2016 Olympian said.
“At the time I think I was listening to songs about guys having nice cars and Mercedes and it was something at the time that seemed completely out of my reach.
“The 2012 Olympics tracksuits I bought, I am sure are still in my mum’s house somewhere.
“People would see me wear and ask if I had boxed in the Games and I would act coy and modest but say that I had.
“Until I did a bit more research on speaking things into existence, people thought I was just crazy or cocky but that is just how I do it.
“When I was a kid, having an expensive car or going to the Olympics was a dream. But I made them happen.”
When I was a kid, having an expensive car or going to the Olympics was a dream. But I made them happen
Unlike most sportspeople who roll out cliches about taking one match or fight at a time and never overlooking an opponent, Okolie has put his reputation on the line with bold predictions.
Mentor, manager and Olympic 2012 golden boy Anthony Joshua – whose London success was watched by Okolie from his shift under the golden arches – has used the psychology as has UFC pioneer Conor ‘Mystic Mac’ McGregor.
When it works, the concept is celebrated as forward thinking and inspirational. But, when it flops, the loser is arrogant, complacent and deluded.
The 6ft 5in puncher explained: “It has caused problems for me with other people before because I would talk about my plans and urge other people to do it.
Okolie is set for a clash with Krzysztof Glowacki at Wembley arena[/caption]
“But most people don’t like to talk like that, they prefer to take one step at a time or not talk about something until it is done.
“Each to their own but making my targets known, loud and clear, is what pushes me on in training.
“I know exactly what the goals are around me and so does everybody else around me.
“You could compare it to religious faith. If you act and behave in a certain way, with dedication, then you will be rewarded.
“I feel like most people want to make logical sense out of everything and that can sometimes hold you back.
“But it’s illogical to push your body to the absolute limit every day for the slim chance you might become a world champion.
“Buying a lottery ticket makes more sense because you know all the figures and likelihoods involved, you know the exact percentage chance of winning.
“But with sport, especially one as dangerous and unpredictable as this, you need to have a few lucky breaks and perfect performances at the right time.
“You need so much self belief, almost to the point of delusion.”
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As much as Okolie was inspired by AJ’s Olympic success, he was scarred by his failure to medal four years later, despite only taking up the sport aged 17.
That last-16 exit in Rio is exactly why he will leave nothing to chance against his dangerous Polish rival.
“I always remember before my fights that nothing is guaranteed and it has to be grabbed,” he said.
“I remember the Olympic loss changed me from a fighter to a winner because I thought winning the gold would be poetic justice for me.
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“I was the kid who watched AJ win in 2012 from my till in McDonalds and then followed on.
“I thought I would qualify and walk in there and they would hand me the medal.
“I soon learned it doesn’t work like that, I learned you have to take every opportunity with both hands.”