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Anthony Joshua vs Martin Bakole could be ordered for WBA final eliminator fight this year

Anthony Joshua and Martin Bakole are the two highest contenders in the WBA rankings and could be ordered to fight in a final eliminator bout; The British star has agreed his next fight against Francis Ngannou in March

Anthony Joshua (Photo: Mark Robinson/Matchroom)
Image: Anthony Joshua could be ordered to fight Martin Bakole this year

Anthony Joshua could be ordered to face Martin Bakole to earn a shot at the WBA world heavyweight title.

Joshua and Bakole are the two highest contenders in the WBA rankings and the governing body will decide whether the pair meet in a final eliminator bout, with the winner becoming mandatory challenger for the WBA title which is currently held by Oleksandr Usyk.

The immediate plan for Joshua is a fight against Francis Ngannou, the former UFC champion, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on a reported date of Friday March 8.

A few weeks earlier, Usyk will defend his WBA, IBF and WBO world titles against WBC champion Tyson Fury in an undisputed world title fight in Riyadh on February 17.

Boxxer CEO Ben Shalom, who promotes the WBA No 1 ranked Bakole, told Sky Sports: "The WBA may order a final eliminator and we are waiting on direction from them.

"The aim for Martin is to fight early in the year and continue his impressive run. I'm looking forward to seeing him fully fit, when he will look even more devastating.

"Of course Anthony Joshua is No 2 [in the WBA rankings] and so it would make sense that the fight would be ordered - and Martin would be ready.

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"Martin remains the most avoided heavyweight in the world and his recent performances have only added to that.

"We're looking forward to a big year for Martin, who will inevitably fight for world titles in the not so distant future."

'I've learned how to stop Anthony Joshua!'

Martin Bakole, David Ghansa and Anthony Joshua
Image: Martin Bakole has previously sparred with Anthony Joshua

Bakole has previously traded punches with Joshua for numerous rounds after being used as a regular sparring partner by the former unified world champion.

"I learned how to stop him," Bakole told Sky Sports last year.

"Inside he doesn't want to be put under pressure. Joshua, I'm going to put him under pressure and he'll give up.

"He doesn't know how to fight on the inside. So give him pressure on the inside until he gives up."

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