Along with some other people, trainer Billy Nelson feels that once Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk fight their first fight (a rematch clause is in place) the heavyweight belts might become up for grabs. For example, Filip Hrgovic has to be accommodated next, with the unbeaten Croatian to get his long-awaited IBF mandatory title shot, this as per an official ruling.
But if Fury and Usyk were to fight each other a second time instead of defending against Hrgovic, in what could be another huge money fight, the IBF belt would become vacant (and it could be that Hrgovic fights Otto Wallin for the vacant strap). And Nelson – who trains Congolese heavyweight Martin Bakole – says he thinks the WBA belt could go the same way, and that if it does, Bakole could fight Deontay Wilder for it.
It is all speculation right now, as nobody knows what the Fury-Usyk winner will do (there may be no market for a second fight, not if either Fury or Usyk wins the first fight in emphatic, no-need-for-a-rematch fashion) – but the idea that a couple of the heavyweight belts could be up for grabs soon after Fury and Usyk have fought is certainly being spoken about.
“Everything is going to be freed up after the [first] fight (between Fury and Usyk) because neither of them will want to fight Hrgovic, if there’s another pot of gold for the [Fury-Usyk] rematch,” Nelson told Sky Sports. “It’s the only avenue available just now, unless you get the golden ticket. If they give up the WBA, we’ll be fighting for the vacant title. You fight the number-one [contender] which is Deontay Wilder, and you fight him for the vacant title, and that’s what we’re doing at the moment.”
But would Wilder be interested in a fight with Bakole, even if it was for the vacant WBA belt? Wilder as we know wants that massive fight with Anthony Joshua. No disrespect to Bakole, a good fighter (who will rumble with experience veteran Carlos Takam on Saturday’s under card in Saudi Arabia), but has Wilder even heard of him? Again, it’s all speculative what may or may not happen with the four heavyweight belts post the Fury-Usyk fight, but a few fighters are circling, ready to take advantage if one or more of the titles do come up for grabs.
And, as big as he is, as strong as he is, Bakole would perhaps have a good shot at beating Wilder. Big name or not, Bakole, 19-1(14) can fight. But let’s hope he is not looking past Takam, who could, if he’s in shape, give Bakole a hard night’s work on Saturday. Some fans were disappointed when Takam, 40-7-1(28) was announced as Bakole’s next fight, seeing it as a backwards step of sorts.
But Takam, although he is pretty long in the tooth, cannot be totally written off here; and he is coming off a good win over Tony Yoka (who Bakole has also beaten). I have a gut feeling Bakole-Takam could be the most fun fight of the night on Saturday.