Boxing News at Five: Joyce set for Germany trip, Kelly gets home advantage against Avanesyan, and the ‘Kingpin’ returns to the UK to fight Bakole

IT appears Joe Joyce will have to travel to Germany if he wants to win the European heavyweight title vacated by Agit Kabayel.

Joyce has been paired with Germany’s former WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck and this morning it was announced Huck’s team have won the purse bid to stage the bout. The likelihood now is that the ‘Juggernaut’ will have to dust off his passport and set sail for a German city at some point in the near future, not that this is a concern for Joyce or his manager, Sam Jones.

Jones told talkSPORT.com: “We will fight on Mars, it doesn’t matter – a ring’s a f***ing ring.”

In other European title news, Josh Kelly will receive a shot at the EBU welterweight title after his promoter, Eddie Hearn, won the purse bid to host a contest against champion David Avanesyan.

Avanesyan is in a rich vein of form at the moment, having twice stopped popular Spaniard Kerman Lejarraga, and has been eager to face Kelly for some time now.

The pair were due to box last December in Sheffield, of course, but an illness prevented Kelly from going through with the bout having already weighed in. Since then, Avanesyan has gone from strength to strength and Kelly, his mandatory challenger, has been held to a draw by underrated American Ray Robinson. Now, with improvements made and a compelling story-line in place, Avanesyan vs. Kelly is unquestionably a better fight than it was first time around.

Josh Kelly fight time
Josh Kelly faces his litmus test (Action Images)

Martin Bakole has a new opponent for his fight on Saturday night (October 19) in Newcastle and it’s a name familiar to UK fight fans.

The Congo-born, Scotland-based heavyweight will fight Kevin ‘Kingpin’ Johnson, a former world heavyweight title challenger (10 years ago) with just two victories in his last nine fights.

Bakole needed a new opponent after Gabriel Enguema withdrew with an injury and Johnson, now 40, answered the call and agreed to his 51st pro fight and ninth in Britain. In previous trips, Johnson lasted the distance against Tyson Fury, Derek Chisora, Daniel Dubois and Nathan Gorman, with only Anthony Joshua managing to stop him on UK soil. But ‘lasted’ is the operative word with Johnson, for he is nowadays a survivor in every sense, his right hand effectively inoperative for well over a decade.

It’s a shame Bakole couldn’t have been matched better for this date in Newcastle. He is on a good run, having rebounded from his first loss of his career against Michael Hunter to stop both Mariusz Wach and Ytalo Perea this year, and could do with more than just rounds.

Daniel Dubois
Durable Johnson went the distance with Dubois (Action Images/Peter Cziborra)

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