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Oleksandr Usyk preparing for Anthony Joshua rematch, using Martin Bakole for sparring

Anthony Joshua, Oleksandr Usyk boxing photo

By Brian Webber: Team Oleksandr Usyk is using heavyweight contender Martin Bakole for sparring help to prepare the IBF/WBA/WBO champion for his rematch with Anthony Joshua on July 23rd in Saudi Arabia.

Bakole helped the unbeaten former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) dethrone Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) last September in London, and they were so pleased with his help that they’re using him again.

In some ways, Joshua, 32, is the lesser fighter than Bakole, who arguably is superior to him in stamina, punch resistance, and being more courageous inside the ring.

Joshua tends to gas out quickly in fights if he’s forced to fight hard, and it’s been shown many times over that he can’t take a hard shot without being wobbled or dropped.

Most troubling of all is how Joshua’s bravery has abandoned him since his sixth-round knockout loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. in June 2019.

Joshua has looked downright timid in his three fights since then in a rematch with Ruiz, Kubrat Pulev, and Usyk. Without courage, Joshua will have massive problems in his rematch with Usyk in July.

“I was contacted during the week regarding Martin sparring again,” said Billy Nelson to Sky Sports about Bakole to help Oleksandr Usyk with sparring in preparation for his rematch with Joshua on July 23rd.

Bakole looked like gold in his recent 10-round majority decision victory over previously undefeated 2016 Olympic gold medalist Tony Yoka on May 14th in Paris, France.

The 275-lb Bakole hurt Yoka on a couple of occasions and dominated the entire fight with his pressure & heavy hands. Bakole arguably should have been given a wide 10-round unanimous decision, but one judge felt Yoka had done enough to earn a draw.

“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,” Nelson said about Team Usyk being pleased with the help that Bakole had given them to prepare for Joshua last time.

Bakole is so tough, powerful, and massive, which helped Usyk get ready for Joshua. For the rematch, it’s believed that Joshua will attempt to impose his size & power game on Usyk, unlike the last time they fought.

It’s essential that Bakole put constant pressure on Usyk during their sparring sessions to mimic what Joshua will likely be doing on July 23rd.

Joshua’s career is literally on the line for this fight, as he’s already lost two out of his last four fights since 2019. He cannot afford to get beaten again by Usyk, and that’s why Bakole must go all out 100% in his training with him.

“Usyk and his team respect his skill to the extent that one of his team said Martin will become a world champion in the not too distant future,” Nelson said.




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