Martin Bakole Ilunga stops Mariusz Wach – RESULTS
By Jeff Aranow: Heavyweight prospect Martin Bakole Ilunga (12-1, 9 KOs) defeated former world title challenger Mariusz Wach (33-5, 17 KOs) by an eighth round knockout in a scheduled 10 round fight to capture the vacant Republic of Poland International Heavyweight title on Saturday night at the Spodek, in Katowice, Poland.
Bakole hurt the big 6’7″ Wach in the eighth round with a hard right hand. Bakole then teed off on the 39-year-old Wach with big shots until the fight was halted with the Polish fighter still on his feet, but looking defenseless and hurt. If the referee didn’t halt the fight, Wach likely would have been knocked down at some point. Either that or Bakole would gas out from throwing shots.
This was a good bounce back win for the 6’5″ Ilunga, who was stopped in the 10th round in his last fight by 2012 U.S Olympian Michael Hunter on October 27 at York Hall in Bethnal Green in London, England.
In the first four rounds, Bakole threw a massive amount of heavy punches to the head of Wach, who took them quite well. The only thing Bakole succeeded in doing, besides building up a lead, was gassing out. Wach looked hurt in the fifth round after he was trapped in a corner by Bakole and hit with a lot hard punches to the head. Wach’s punch resistance was incredible with the amount of hard shots he took in the round. After the round ended, Wach went back to his corner on shaky legs and looked like he wasn’t going to be able to go too much longer with the punishment that he had absorbed. Bakole like he had emptied his gas tank in the fifth.
Wach was the busier guy in the sixth round. He was constantly hitting Bakole with slow jabs and right hands, but the punches were slow, and that took away a lot of the power that otherwise would have been there Wach had respectable power in the first two rounds, but he couldn’t maintain that strength due to the fast pace that Bakole was pushing. Wach wanted to fight at a slow pace so that he could rest, but Bakole wouldn’t let him.
Bakole looked very slow and exhausted as he went into the second half of the fight. If Wach had speed, agility and talent, he would have taken over the fight and likely forced a stoppage in the same way Hunter did last October in stopping Bakole after he tired out.
Overall, it was a decent win for Bakole. He showed good power in both hands, and he fought at a fast enough basis to knockout a fighter that is hard to stop. However, Bakole’s slow hands, and his conditioning problems will make it hard for him to beat the better heavyweights in the division. Right now, Bakole would likely lose to fringe contenders like Andy Ruiz Jr., Christian Hammer, Hughie Fury, Sergey Kuzmin, Dereck Chisora, Tony Yoka, Charles Martin and Agit Kabayel.
Wach has slipped a lot since losing to former heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko by a 12 round unanimous decision in 2012. Wladimir was unable to knockout Wach back then, but the Polish fighter was a lot better back then compared to now. Wach has now lost his last three fights to Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller, Artur Szpilka and Bakole. Losing three fights in a row is obviously bad for Wach, but he’s been matched tough. His management putting Wach in with those three fighters was obviously going to be a problem for him, because these are guys that he would have likely lost to in his youth. Wach is pushing 40 now, and it’s asking too much of him to try and compete with fighters at that level. Szpilka is a fighter that has seen better days as well, but he’s still young at 29-years-old.