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Boxing Results: Tony Yoka stops Joel Tambwe Djeko in 12th


By Don Young: Fringe heavyweight contender Tony Yoka (10-0, 8 KOs) stayed unbeaten with a 12th round knockout victory over Joel Tambwe Djeko (17-3-1, 8 KOs) on Friday night to win the vacant EBU heavyweight strap at the H Arena in Nantes, France.

In a boring fight with minimal action, the 2016 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist Yoka, 28, trapped Djeko against the ropes in the 12th and unloaded a flurry of shots that caused him to turn his back, causing the bout to be halted. Referee Jean-Robert Laine then stepped in and waved off the fight.

Djeko was playing it safe mostly, trying not to get knocked out by Yoka and not doing anything to try and win. Yoka was jabbing, throwing single right hands, and not throwing combinations.

The fight could have been over early if Yoka had thrown a four-punch combination at any time, as Djeko looked vulnerable. Yoka could have overwhelmed this guy easily, but he didn’t have the fire in his game.  Yoka fought like he was afraid to gas out.

It was a decent win for Yoka, but the quality of his opponent and the slow pace of the fight took away from the quality of the victory.

After four years as a professional, Yoka needed a better performance than this to show that he belongs among the heavyweight division elite.

Sadly, this was a Joseph Parker-level performance and not what Yoka needed to show to let the boxing world know that he belongs among the top fighters.

What’s become increasingly apparent is the 6’7″ Yoka, although an excellent amateur, isn’t the same type of fighter as a pro.

Yoka’s game isn’t designed for the professional ranks. He’s more along the lines of an Audley Harrison type, a heavyweight that is a knockout waiting to happen when he eventually is stepped up against the top 15-level competition.

Top Rank needs to figure out what they want to do with Yoka because he’s not progressing.

They can keep matching Yoka against weak opposition until he get s a nice payday world title shot, but he’s not going to win fighting the way he is now. Maybe a new trainer might help Yoka, but that’s unlikely.

Top Rank needs to try everything they can to improve Yoka before he gets found out by one of the lower-level heavyweights he’s being matched against.

What’s troubling is how far behind Yoka is from Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua in terms of development. Despite being close to the same age as those fighters, Yoka isn’t matched against the same kind of opposition, which is severely stunting his progress. Top Rank needs to throw Yoka in the deep end and let him sink or swim.

Undercard results for the Yoka vs. Djeko card:

  • Middleweight Farrhad Saad (8-0-1, 0 KOs) defeated Borislav Ivanov (9-2, 5 KOs) by an eight-round decision.
  • Female lightweight Estelle Yoka Mossely (9-0, 1 KO) beat Verena Kaiser (14-2, 6 KOs) by a 10 round decision.


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