Lawrence Okolie returned to action with an underwhelming points win over New Zealand’s David Light in the third defence of his WBO cruiserweight title in Manchester.
In his first outing since beating Michal Cieslak on points in February last year and his subsequent acrimonious split from promoter Eddie Hearn, Okolie struggled to impress but still skated away to a unanimous decision that extends his unbeaten record to 19 fights.
It was hardly the emphatic message the 30-year-old Londoner had hoped to deliver in his first bout under new trainer Sugarhill Steward, but it kept him on track of realising his dream of a future cruiserweight title unification fight.
Former Commonwealth Games medallist Light entered the bout as a big underdog despite his own unbeaten record, and offered no real threat in the first half of the fight that was devoid of major highlights.
Okolie was well on top despite failing to unduly trouble his opponent in a scrappy contest that was increasingly marred by spells of holding.
He made a breakthrough in the 10th round with a right hand that clearly wobbled his opponent, and belatedly delivered more punishment in the 11th, but Light gamely stuck around to see the final bell.