‘A devastating KO’ – but who next?

Mikael Lawal delivered “a devastating knockout”, but Sky Sports expert Matthew Macklin has questioned whether the dangerous puncher is ready for a risky shootout.

The cruiserweight contender produced a thunderous one-punch stoppage of Leonardo Damian Bruzzese on Saturday night, which kept him on course for a British title fight.

With Chris Billam-Smith holding the European and British belts, Macklin has advised Lawal to prime his punches against a higher class of opponent before risking his unbeaten record.

Mikael Lawal
Image: Could Lawal receive a major title fight next year?

Macklin told Sky Sports: “That was another big knockout win off the back of the last one he had, Lawal.

“He’s getting a reputation as a big, big puncher.

“A welcome addition to the domestic cruiserweight division.

“Billam-Smith, obviously more experienced, a European champion now, so that’s a big step up for him.

“Even though tonight was a devastating knockout performance in the end, we’ve got to keep things in perspective.

“Bruzzese was there as very much an opponent. Been knocked out before on a lesser level as well.

“Maybe the jump for Lawal right into Billam-Smith, I’m not sure he’s quite ready for that.

“I think he probably needs a couple of fights in between first.”

Lawal was satisfied after unloading a fight-ending right hand on Bruzzese in the fifth round at The SSE Arena, Wembley.

Mikael Lawal
Image: Lawal wants to force a fight against Chris Billam-Smith

The 26-year-old Londoner, who has nine knockouts in 15 wins, hopes Billam-Smith will be ordered to make a title defence against him.

“I was trying to time it. I finally found it,” Lawal told Sky Sports.

“I was rushing a bit at first, got a bit comfortable.

“He [Bruzzese] has got a lot of experience over me.

“For me to take him out – and he’s European level as well – so getting him out of there, I’m happy with that.

“At first, my coaches weren’t too happy with what I was doing. I was trying to force it and obviously I had to time it right.

“I’ve got my own path to go down. I’m just waiting to be made mandatory for the British title.”

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