Trainer Joe Gallagher is renowned for aiding and developing several of the U.K.’s most talented fighters across the previous two decades.

Callum Smith, Liam Smith, Anthony Crolla and Scott Quigg all achieved world title success under Gallagher’s tutelage. Galllagher is also credited as the critical component and motivator in enabling Natasha Jonas to transform her career and achieve two-weight world-champion status while approaching 40 years old.

Gallagher recently confirmed that he has begun working alongside former cruiserweight world titleholder Lawrence Okolie (19-1, 14 KOs), who separated from SugarHill Steward after his only career defeat, to Chris Billam-Smith (19-1, 13 KOs) last May in Bournemouth, U.K.

Okolie, a former Olympian, will return next month in Poland, challenging to become a two-weight world titlist as he prepares to face bridgerweight titleholder Lukasz Rozanski (15-0, 14 KOs). 

The hard-hitting Rozanski holds impressive wins against the likes of Izuagbe Ugonoh, Artur Szpilka and – in his last time out – Alen Babic. Rozanski will be aiming for an upset over Okolie to further bolster his increasingly impressive record.

However, the major mark against Okolie is his habit of holding.

Okolie has frustrated British fight fans with his inability to not hold, which has caused the fighter to lose a number of points in his past two outings, against Billam-Smith and David Light, respectively.

Gallagher recently appeared on the Toe 2 Toe Sky Sports Podcast, and answered questions about how he has worked with Okolie since their training relationship began. Gallagher explained that he has been working on the issue of clinching and holding with Okolie, comparing the inclination to that of a smoker.

“It is a habit – just like smoking or having a twitch,” Gallagher said. “It’s a habit. We have looked at it [together] and the reasons why he is doing it. We are now at the point where we know why he is doing it, and now in sparring he is not doing it.

“In sparring, there is no hugging or holding, and he is letting his shots go.”

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