Martin Bakole and Jack McGann pick up knockout victories to open Fury-Ngannou undercard

The heavyweight theme of The Battle of the Baddest card opened with Martin Bakole squaring off with Carlos Takam in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 

The first round saw Takam land the first jab, Bakole returning the favour two fold just seconds later. Bakole applied more pressure as the round went on, landing his leading left jab to body and head. Takam did land one punch of little velocity to end the opening round. 

The second round took a similar route to begin, tentatively from Takam with Bakole trying to set up a big right hand. However, in typical Takam fashion he bobbed and weaved to end the round strong, again landing just before the bell with a right hand. 

Round three saw the fight set fire to some degree. Bakole started to put combinations together that appeared to have Takam in trouble. However, Takam recovered to again apply pressure, having Bakole pushed up against the ropes. Bakole was happy to sit there as he landed clubbing left and right hooks and landing at least three highly effective uppercuts. 

Bakole was putting his size and strength advantage to good use as he opened the fourth round with big hooks to the head of Takam. The Cameroonian was on the back foot as Bakole stalked his opponent with left and right hands. Takam was stopped on his feet as the Congolese man would not let his fellow African up for air. Referee Lee Every stopped the bout at 2 minutes and 15 seconds. 

Bakole’s record improves 20-1 (14 KOs) with Takam’s record moving to 40-8-1 (28 KOs) also picking a fifth career knockout defeat.

Bakole was much larger than his usual frame tonight in the Middle East. Trainer Billy Nelson told of an injury that saw the Scottish based heavyweight only spend two weeks in the gym ahead of tonight's fight.

Ahead of the heavyweight duel, the show opened with an eight round bout at super welterweight between Alcibiade Duran and Jack McGann.

Duran was dropped and stopped in just the second round. McGann landed a big left hand to the head of the son of the legendary Roberto Duran, he did rise to his feet well before the count but the referee waved off the bout with Duran perceived to be in no fit state to continue. 

It took just 37 seconds for the Liverpudlian to dispatch of his adversary in Riyadh improving his record to 9-0-1 (6 KOs). McGann, a former MMA fighter, was walked to the ring by UFC legend Chuck Liddell to set the tone for the two sports coming together in the Middle East. Duran’s record moves to 12-4 (9 KOs) picking up his first stoppage defeat in his career to date.