by Chris Vasco
This Saturday marks a date that Martin Bakole (12-1-9 KO) has been waiting for. Undefeated as a professional, Bakole came up against American Michael Hunter (17-1-12) at York Hall last October. In Hunter, he faced a man whose sole defeat came at the hands of the feared and unbeaten unified cruiser weight champion Oleksander Usyk (16-0-12 KO).
Bakole seemed to start the fight aggressively, using his size and strength in the first couple of rounds, but began to be picked off by his faster opponent, As the rounds continued, he appeared somewhat despondent and Bakole injured his shoulder in the eighth. He was eventually stopped in the tenth, with seconds remaining.
Bakole and Nelson took a lot of stick on social media over the next few months, with Nelson saying in numerous interviews he thought Bakole was as good as the likes of Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder.
Bakole and Nelson redeemed themselves in their next fights, against the tough former-world title challenger Mariusz Wach (33-5 17 KO). A lot of people feared this would be a banana skin for Bakole but it gave the Congolese native a chance to expel the demons of his sole defeat.
Bakole took his chance, shocking the feverish home crowd by stopping their man in the eighth. Bakole landed 12 unanswered shots leaving the referee no choice but to step in and call a stop to the contest, Bakole in the process picked up the Polish Federation Heavyweight strap.
For Bakole, a Knockout win against Ytalo Perea (11-4-2 7KO) - a somewhat durable opponent - will catapult him into a big fight. His trainer Billy has suggested wants a big name such as Chisora or David Price. The 26-year-old is on a stacked JD NXTGEN card at the exhibition centre, headlined by Anthony Fowler (9-1 8 KO ) taking on veteran former World title challenger Brian Rose (31-5-1 8 KO) for the WBO Inter-Continental Championship .