Oleksandr Usyk is an undefeated, undisputed cruiserweight champion who is currently one fight away from repeating that feat in the heavyweight division – but he’s been forced to defend himself from some sparring rumours.
The Ukrainian cleared out a tough 200lbs class before moving up to heavyweight – always a career goal since sparring his countryman Wladimir Klitschko back in the day.
Having won the unified belts in just his third outing against Anthony Joshua, Usyk has settled nicely, but many feel he’s protecting a vulnerability to the body – almost taken advantage of by ‘AJ’ and Daniel Dubois – that may cause problems down the line.
Career heavyweight Martin Bakole has put his considerable weight behind this theory, not being shy of claiming that he dropped the champion with a body shot thus ending a sparring session early.
Discussing the goings-on inside the gym is usually bad practice, but Bakole has used some of the biggest platforms to do it. So much so, that Usyk has now responded.
Speaking to Ready To Fight, the 36-year-old said he would be happy to post the footage.
“We have videos of all the sparring sessions. If Martin wants the truth, we can post videos of all the sparring sessions specifically with him. No, there was no knockout or knockdown. Many sparring partners hit me in the head during training, and it hurts, yes. But they don’t stop me.”
It likely won’t come to that, but Bakole isn’t backing down.
The 300lbs Congolese man fighting out of Scotland recently demolished Carlos Takam in four rounds, and continues to steadily fight his way to the top.
Should Usyk – who has an undisputed fight against Tyson Fury already signed for next up – stick around a year or two, fans may just see them settle it in the ring.