Anthony Joshua's coach discusses potential dream fight in Africa

  • Jack Figg

Undefeated heavyweight Martin Bakole is being tipped by his trainer Billy Nelson to meet Anthony Joshua in a future showdown in Nigeria.

The Congolese Bakole holds a record of 11 straight victories with eight coming by way of knockout, but the 26-year-old has also spent time sparring the likes of prospect Daniel Dubois and Joshua himself.

Joshua, who holds the WBA, WBO and IBF versions of the world titles, has made it no secret in the past he wishes to box in Nigeria one day, and trainer Nelson exclusively told Sky Sports’ Toe 2 Toe podcast Bakole could be the opponent.

“AJ has always stated that he wants to fight in Africa so why not, in a year’s time, take on Martin, the continent’s number one heavyweight,” Nelson said.

“It won’t be long before Martin is at that level. He has the skills and ability to take on ‘AJ’ now, but in 12 months when he has greater experience and more rounds in the bank, which is required, it’s a fantastic fight.

“A fight in Nigeria, where Anthony’s family come from, what a fight it would be. It would be a proper, proper, fight. Stranger things have certainly happened in boxing.”

As Joshua looks set to meet Russian Alexander Povetkin having been ordered by the WBA to do so, further postponing a showdown with WBC titleist Deontay Wilder, Nelson explained Bakole is to be used for sparring in ‘AJ’s’ next training camp.

“We’ve already been asked to go and spar him for whoever he fights next, whether it be Wilder or Povetkin, so it’s brilliant for us,” Nelson said.

Nelson further detailed the previous spars the two undefeated heavyweights have shared together and revealed the competitive nature of it.

“Martin learnt a lot from AJ. Every spar was a very even, competitive, spar and you’d pay to watch it. It was great, and we thank Joshua and [trainer] Rob McCracken for having us down.

“I remember ‘AJ’ exploding a right hand off Martin’s jaw that even I nearly went down from it! Martin took it really well and came straight back with an uppercut of his own, a fantastic shot. He certainly got AJ’s respect and showed he could take a shot and come right back.”

As well as targeting a future fight with the Joshua, Nelson revealed there is another undefeated Brit on their radar in Commonwealth heavyweight champion Joe Joyce.

“We’d like to face Joyce, but I’m not surprised in the slightest that they don’t want to fight Martin because Joe is a good fighter and has been well invested in,” Nelson said.

“That investment would come to a sudden halt because Martin Bakole knocks Joe Joyce out, he’s far too quick and punches every bit as hard, If not harder.

“Martin just has so much more than Joyce. If my man didn’t win a world title I would class that as a failure. We’re not here to win 6-8 rounders, we are both winners and I believe we will win major titles together.”

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