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Tony Yoka to fight on March 14 at MSG in New York

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By Chris Williams: Tony Yoka has revealed that he’ll be fighting next month on March 14 at Madison Square Garden in New York. This is expected to be the first fight for the 2016 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist Yoka (7-0, 6 KOs) with his new promoters at Top Rank Boxing.

Yoka, 27, will be fighting on the undercard of WBO featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson vs. Miguel Marriaga.

Yoka turned pro in 2017, but his career has gone at a slow pace with him fighting lower-level opposition. His opponent for the Olympic final Joe Joyce is ahead of him and is on the verge of potentially putting himself on the doorsteps for a world title shot in his next fight against Daniel Dubois on April 11.

“It’s time to write a new page in my career, which will now be on two continents. My next fight is scheduled for March 14 at Madison Square Garden in New York. As promised Two trips will be won very soon stay connected. 🙏🏽🇫🇷,” said @TonyYoka.

The 6’7″ Yoka last fought in September last year in stopping German heavyweight Michael Wallisch in the third round. Yoka also has wins over David Allen, Alexander Dimitrenko and Cyril Leonet. Despite having an 85.71% KO rate, Yoka isn’t a big puncher. He’s more of a finesse level heavyweight, who jabs, grabs and moves a lot. His gold medal win in the 2016 Olympic against Joyce was without question a highly controversial one.

Joyce appeared to outwork Yoka, and do more than enough to get the win. With amateur boxing, it’s a different sport in which the judges score more on punches landing with the front part of the gloves. The sport is more like fencing, and you often guys than win gold medals, and do nothing at all in the pro game. Amateur boxing and professional boxing is like checkers and chess.

Top Rank is going to have to figure out what they want to do with Yoka, because his lack of power is going to be a problem at the pro level. He can’t count on winning by just touching his opponents. He’s going to have to be able to sit down on his shots to exist with the likes of Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua, and Tyson Fury.

Stevenson (13-0, 7 KOs) will be making his first defense of his WBO title against fellow Top Rank fighter Marriaga (29-3, 25 KOs). This isn’t the fight that Stevenson, 22, wants. He was hoping to face Carl Frampton, but the negotiations have gone nowhere. So instead of facing Frampton, Stevenson finds himself defending against the 33-year-old Marriaga, who has a four-fight winning streak against lower-level opposition.

The Colombian Marriaga has losses to Oscar Valdez, Vasiliy Lomachenko and Nicholas Walters in the past. All three of those fighters are with Top Rank. If Marriaga loses to Stevenson, which would seem likely, it would mean that all 4 of his career losses would have come against fighters from the Top Rank stable.


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