Trainer Billy Nelson has said his heavyweight charge Martin Bakole has been offered a fight with “one of the big boys” of the division.
The Scottish coach, who cornered Bakole to an impressive four-round stoppage win over Carlos Takam in Saudi Arabia last month, confirmed that Bakole’s victory has captured the attention of those within the sport.
“I’ve been offered one of the big boys and the answer straight away was ‘Yes’. Will it come to fruition?”
Nelson was referring to a Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua-size fight, and Bakole is still a wanted man in Riyadh.
“They were very happy with him,” Nelson continued. “His Excellency Turki Al-Sheikh took a right shine to him, and I’m looking to get him back out there again.”
There is talk of another big show in Riyadh on December 23, but Bakole is resting and recovering. It was also widely reported that he has recently swallowed a wasp.
“He’s got a reoccurrence of his injury [that he suffered before the fight], the wasp that he swallowed made him lose his voice last week, he went home to the Congo for a couple of weeks and his voice has barely come back,” Nelson added. “I’ve said all along, in my opinion, he’s the second-best heavyweight in the world behind Tyson Fury and I think Tyson is aware that Martin would give him the hardest fight out there.”
Nelson still rates Fury as the No. 1 heavyweight in the world by a distance (“I think he underachieved and I think Ngannou overachieved”) and does not think Ngannou will be a major factor in the division when it comes to anything other than finances.
“Most definitely he will be,” Nelson said, referring to the money. “And good luck to him. That’s what they’re here for, to secure a future for themselves and their families.”
It is why Bakole finds himself working in Airdrie in Scotland, having linked up with Nelson after leaving the Congo. They’ve had big moments and setbacks, but the Takam fight might have seen the duo turn a corner as they move towards the top of the division.
“It’s been frustrating,” Nelson went on, reflecting on the journey. “It didn’t help that Covid came, we’ve been mucked about with promoters telling us they were going to renew contracts and they never did and frustrating when we were told we would get out before the end of the year and then we weren’t so we were fortunate to get this fight in Riyadh which basically saved his [Bakole’s] year, and look at the performance he gave, even at 55-60 per cent.”
Takam had been Ngannou’s main sparring partner, but Bakole swept through him, and now Nelson wants to see Bakole fulfil the potential Nelson has always spoken of.
“I see it all the time in the gym,” Nelson concluded. “I’ve told you for a long, long time. I know what he’s done to people in the gym. You’ve probably heard the stories about what he’s done to people in the gym. If he does what he does in the gym, people are going to think ‘Wow’. He’s something else.”