Tony Yoka formally accepts Filip Hrgovic IBF title eliminator

By Boxing News - 01/13/2022 - Comments

By Jeff Aronow: Promoter Kalle Sauerland reports Tony Yoka has formally accepted the IBF heavyweight title eliminator in writing against Filip ‘El Animal’ Hrgovic on Thursday to decide the mandatory for champion Oleksandr Usyk.

This is great news for boxing fans, as a contender has finally stepped up to the plate to take on the unbeaten Hrgovic (14-0, 12 KOs) after two fighters declined the fight.

For the 6’6″ Hrgovic, this is the worst possible opponent for him because he twice lost to Yoka in the amateurs.

In both fights, Yoka skillfully neutralized Hrgovic’s offense, making him look uncoordinated with the way he constantly swung & missed with his wild shots.

Hrgovic looked out of his league against Yoka in both fights, especially the second one in 2016.

You got to wonder what Hrgovic is thinking right now after hearing that Yoka has formally accepted the fight with him in writing. Hrgovic has got to be upset because Yoka has the talent to ruin his dreams of challenging Oleksandr Usyk for his three titles.

Image: Tony Yoka formally accepts Filip Hrgovic IBF title eliminator

Fighting Usyk would mean millions for Hrgovic, and it would be life-changing money for the Croatian. Unfortunately for Hrgovic, he’s now facing the equivalent of kryptonite in the form of Yoka, and he could once again taste defeat.

With a victory over Hrgovic, the 6’7″ Yoka will be mandatory to IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) and entitled to a 35% cut against him. There’s a good chance that the Yoka vs. Hrgovic fight winner will be facing Anthony Joshua rather than Usyk.

Those two will be meeting three months from now in April, and Joshua may avenge his loss. That could mean a bigger payday for the Yoka-Hrgovic winner because Joshua is arguably a bigger star than Usyk.

The 2016 Olympic gold medalist Yoka (11-0, 9 KOs), who comes from France, has been moved at a glacial pace since turning professional in 2017.

It’s been disappointing watching Yoka’s potential as a pro being wasted with him being matched against lesser opposition instead of top 10 fighters, but that all changes now.

Yoka, 29, should be further along with his career than he is, but he hasn’t been nearly busy enough, and the quality opposition until now has been decidedly lackluster.

Recently, Yoka had been scheduled to fight Martin Bakole, but the fight was pulled due to COVID.

Now, instead of Yoka fighting the fringe contender Bakole with nothing on the line, he’s facing Hrgogic with the chance to punch his ticket for a world title shot against IBF heavyweight champion Usyk in 2023. This is a massive turnaround of events.