Martin Bakole made the headlines recently for insisting that he stopped the unified heavyweight champion of the world, Oleksandr Usyk, during a sparring session.
The Congolese heavyweight fighting out of Scotland was drafted into the Ukrainian’s training in Dubai for the Anthony Joshua rematch.
Usyk went on to beat ‘AJ’ for a second time – retaining his belts and cementing his status as one of the very best fighters in the world – although according to Bakole he was bested in the gym beforehand.
Speaking to Vringe, Usyk waved off the claims as showmanship.
“People can make up different stories, but people shouldn’t necessarily believe everything they hear. Do not forget that boxing is not only a sport, but also a show. Therefore, many want to draw attention to themselves for PR or other purposes.
To his credit, Usyk isn’t bothered enough about the gossip to lose a good sparring partner. He confirmed that he would have Bakole back in the gym if his team saw fit.
“If the team decides that he is needed in training camp, then yes.”
Bakole also claimed to have done similar damage to Daniel Dubois. Ironically, the young British heavyweight is first in line for a mandatory shot at Usyk’s belts.
The two teams have been in negotiations for over a month now, and in this case, no news doesn’t seem to be good news. A deadline for purse bids set by the WBA has been and gone, too.
However Usyk decides to keep busy, some of his focus remains on the division’s other champion – Tyson Fury. After failed negotiations to make a fight for all four belts at the beginning of the year, the pair could face off in winter in the Middle East.