Heavyweight contender Martin Bakole is coming off a big win over Tony Yoka and big things are expected of him from his team. Trainer Billy Nelson, speaking with Sky Sports, says he believes his fighter has a higher skillset than Anthony Joshua and that heavyweight champ Oleksandr Usyk also rates his man highly. Usyk sparred Bakole ahead of last September’s win over Joshua and now the two will be sparring again ahead of the Usyk-Joshua rematch.
Nelson said he knew Team-Usyk would be asking for Bakole’s services, as impressed as they were with Bakole and his work last year.
“I was contacted during the week regarding Martin sparring again,” Nelson said. “I knew that was going to happen anyway because they were super happy with him on the first occasion, I think Martin gave them the best sparring he’s had. Usyk and his team respect his skill to the extent that one of his team said Martin world champion in the not too distant future. I’d day Martin’s skillset is better than Anthony Joshua’s. Joshua probably punches harder, but Martin’s output is much higher along with his variety of punches.”
This is of course high praise (and plenty of fans will likely disagree) but 28 year old Bakole, 18-1(13) did look excellent against Yoka. How far Bakole can go will prove to be very interesting. As for Usyk, it’s good news that he is making sparring partner plans as this means he is focused and is working hard for that return with Joshua. Still to be officially announced, the rematch really is a must-win fight for both men – for different reasons.
As for Bakole’s next fight, Nelson recently said Dillian Whyte would be the preferred choice of next opponent, while the trainer also said ‘why not?’ to a fight with Deontay Wilder. Bakole’s world ranking, which was at #15 with the WBC before the fight with Yoka, is certain to rise soon enough. Bakole will once again be sparring a world champion in Usyk (and he has also sparred Tyson Fury in the past), but can he go on and rule the world himself?