News Roundup: Bakole to Matchroom, Kovalev vs Yarde, Broner vs Selby


1. Heavyweight contender Martin Bakole has signed a promotional deal with Matchroom. It’s good to see that Bakole has retained the services of Scotland’s Billy Nelson, his trainer, landlord, and biggest cheerleader. Nelson has trumpeted the abilities of his man for so long that while some found joy in Bakole’s headline capitulation to Michael Hunter, it was also sad to see Billy so visibly crushed given the amount of time and finance he had ploughed into the Congo-born fighter.

Since losing to Hunter, Bakole travelled to Poland to defeat former world title challenger Mariusz Wach. Now he has signed with Matchroom and secured an undercard slot on their August 2, Liverpool bill. Eddie Hearn promises big names. Things are looking a lot rosier on the road to redemption for Martin Bakole.

2. The WBC is at it again! They are installing Jermall Charlo as the full WBC Middleweight Champion, probably the weakest move they could’ve enacted to create a full world champion. Of course, when such situations arise, it is often necessary to move the chess pieces around the board to keep the conveyor belt flowing and ensure fighters are not left out in the cold. This isn’t one of these times.

Charlo cemented his relationship with the WBC after first defeating a hobbling, one-legged version of Jorge Sebastian Heiland in 2017, and then knocking out the hapless Hugo Centeno Jr to obtain an “interim” status. This victory saw him hovering about, making defences underneath Canelo who has eventually found himself elevated to a mythical high as a “Franchise Champion”. There’s also a Mayan Belt in there somewhere (that was used for Canelo’s rematch with GGG), but frankly, this is getting so complicated it’s probably best to say: bullshit. And move on.

3. Speaking of Canelo, the Mexican was being lined up for a fight with light-heavyweight destroyer Sergey Kovalev, before Kovalev signed to fight Anthony Yarde on August 24. Canelo’s team were probably grabbing a bit of publicity ahead of more serious negotiations. If and when the Russian disposes of Yarde they might revisit this idea. The Krusher has plenty of name-value in America. However, he’s hurtling towards 40, likes a drink and has some charges floating around in the background, so is probably looking on the right side of faded so far as Canelo and his handlers are concerned.

Kovalev remains a talented operator, with sizeable physical advantages, and a strong punch. Canelo’s main asset is arguably his ability to rake the body. Kovalev is suspect to the body. As bizarre as a fight between the pair seems, it is not inconceivable that eight or nine rounds in to a contest we could see an increasingly desperate Kovalev hunting the big KO against a fleet-footed Canelo, sliding out of range, picking off shots and picking up rounds. That’s all hypothetical for the time being anyway because…

4. …Kovalev first has to deal with the Yarde fight. It’s nice to see this matchup happening, as many worried it had fallen by the wayside after an initial date fell through amidst talk of Russian backers failing to find the cash needed to put on the event.

WBO champion Kovalev is 36, but the most intriguing factor lies with Yarde’s complete lack of experience at this kind of level. His impressive physique lends itself to some wondering if he has the gas tank to go into deep water. We have not seen that happen yet, so we don’t know. Yarde can clearly punch, but will that power transfer up several levels? We have not seen that happen yet, so we don’t know. Both men have accepted the terms so must be confident. That’s good – thumbs up to all involved in making this a reality.

5. The final nugget to hit the rumour mill is slightly odd. Adrien Broner’s next opponent is expected to be announced as Welshman Lee Selby. Selby is actually bigger than Broner. Lee had long overstayed his welcome at featherweight, and it’s high time he moved up. Thankfully, after a 135-pound debut win over Omar Douglas, Selby has opted to stay at a higher weight class.

Given Broner’s infamous indiscipline it is unlikely he will accommodate Selby at anything less than 140. Selby, who blows hot and cold, should be a lot stronger in these advanced divisions. Broner badly needs a victory after losing his last three. The PBC has not picked Selby because they think he will come over and beat one of their ratings attractions. Look for Broner to win this one.

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