Oleksandr Usyk has brought in Congolese heavyweight Martin Bakole as the Ukrainian steps up sparring for his huge rematch with Anthony Joshua in Jeddah, next month.
Bakole, who trains under Billy Nelson in Scotland, had been part of Tyson Fury’s training camp as the WBC heavyweight world champion prepared to face Dilian Whyte in April.
The 29-year-old has now been called up by WBA, IBF and WBO champion Usyk, who has moved his training camp to Dubai ahead of a second clash with Joshua in Saudi Arabia on August 20.
“Usyk really appreciates Martin’s skills,” Nelson told Sky Sports. “He’s sparred with him over in the UK and before the first AJ fight and now they’ve asked him back in Dubai for AJ 2.
“Clearly they think very highly of him.”
Bakole recently improved his record to (18-1, 13 KOs) with an emphatic majority decision victory over French Olympic gold medallist Tony Yoka in Paris, with his only career defeat to date coming against Michael Hunter back in 2018.
After his dominant win, Bakole has moved a step closer to a fight against a high-profile heavyweight rival, and Nelson explained: “We’re discussing that right now. Hopefully, there will be news very shortly.”
Bakole would welcome a fight against former world champion Joseph Parker, who recently signed a promotional deal with BOXXER.
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Parker is currently ranked No 4 in the world by Ring Magazine, No 2 by the WBO and No 3 by the WBC following the New Zealander’s rematch win over Derek Chisora in December.
“We’d gladly fight Parker, especially if it was an eliminator for a world title” said Nelson. “No problem whatsoever. Let’s do it.”