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Oleksandr Usyk: Heavyweight champion's camp deny Martin Bakole claims over sparring knockout

Martin Bakole claims he stopped heavyweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk in sparring; Congolese contender says he also stopped British heavyweight Daniel Dubois on two occasions in another sparring session

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Heavyweight contender Martin Bakole claims to have stopped unified world champion Oleksandr Usyk in sparring

Oleksandr Usyk's camp have denied claims from heavyweight contender Martin Bakole that he stopped the unified world champion during a sparring session.

Bakole, appearing on Sky Sports fight night coverage on Saturday, said that he had stopped Usyk in a sparring session in Dubai and consequently doubts the Ukrainian would be willing to give him a title shot.

Responding to Bakole's claims, Usyk's promoter Alexander Krassyuk told Sky Sports that the situation was reversed, with his fighter having come close to inflicting a knockout.

"Even Usyk, I don't think he'd say yes (to fighting me) because I stopped him in Dubai in sparring," Bakole said.

"He knows how good I am. I don't know if he'll say yes again to fight me as well.

"I am telling the truth.

Oleksandr Usyk
Image: Oleksandr Usyk holds the WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles

"No excuses this year. I am ready to face anybody now."

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Krassyuk credited Bakole for being the "best" sparring partner Usyk has had in his last three training camps, but dismissed suggestions the champion had been troubled.

"Bakole is a great kid," Krassyuk said. "He was Usyk's best sparring partner within last three training camps.

"But I heard him stopping Usyk just once, and he stopped him from knocking Bakole out."

Bakole calls out Dubois | 'I would stop him in first or second round'

Bakole, whose last outing was an impressive win over French Olympic champion Tony Yoka from the away corner in May 2022, has climbed to number two in WBA rankings and is attempting to map his way to glory in boxing's glamour division.

The 29-year-old also called out Britain's WBA 'regular' champion Daniel Dubois, who is currently first in line to face WBA, WBO and IBF champion Usyk if an undisputed clash between the Ukrainian and WBC champion Tyson Fury falls through.

Dubois came through a major scare in December as he was knocked down three times in the first round before showing huge courage to stop Kevin Lerena, despite having torn knee ligaments during the contest.

Britain's Daniel Dubois, centre, celebrates towards the photographers after defeating South Africa's Kevin Lerena in their WBA regular heavyweight championship boxing match at Tottenham Hotspur's White Hart Lane stadium, London, Saturday Dec. 3, 2022.(AP Photo/Ian Walton)
Image: Daniel Dubois is the WBA 'regular' heavyweight champion

The injury is expected to keep Dubois out of action until the summer, but Bakole appears willing to wait for the bout, and once more revealed some startling accounts of sparring.

When asked who he wants to face, Bakole replied: "Daniel Dubois.

"I sparred him twice and stopped him twice in sparring.

"He knows and his team knows, so I think I would stop him in the first or second round. I am looking to the WBA. I have the number two ranking. Why not Daniel Dubois because he is the regular champion right now?

"I am calling him out. I want him to be ready for me.

"I want that fight. I can't wait. I wait too much. People are hiding away because they don't want to fight me.

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Promoter Ben Shalom is delighted to have signed a new multi-fight deal with Martin Bakole

"I made the mistake of sparring them in the gym, but now there's no more excuses."

Bakole's trainer Billy Nelson refused to comment on what occurred during sparring, but says he is confident his fighter would stop Dubois.

"I believe that Martin will easily stop Daniel Dubois quicker than Joe Joyce did," Nelson told Sky Sports.

"Daniel is a confidence fighter and if he cannot hurt you then he doesn't have a Plan B, because he isn't intelligent enough to follow it!""

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