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Tony Yoka vs. Carlos Takam preview for this Saturday on ESPN+ on March 11

Image: Tony Yoka vs. Carlos Takam preview for this Saturday on ESPN+ on March 11

By Jim Calfa: 2016 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist Tony Yoka will be facing former world title challenger Carlos Takam in a 10 round main event this Saturday, March 11, live on ESPN+ at the Accor Arena, in Paris, France. The streamed portion of the Yoka-Takam event will begin at 2:45 p.m. ET/11:45 a.m. PT.

#9 IBF Yoka (11-1, 9 KOs) is coming off a 10 round majority decision to Martin Bakole last year in May in Paris. Yoka, 30, was beaten up, knocked down twice in the first and fifth rounds.

If Yoka loses this fight, he might as well retire because there are much better fighters in the division that will give him even more problems.

While the judges scored it close, Yoka looked like he deserved to win two rounds at best, as he dominated by the heavier, more rugged Bakole in that fight. If the contest had been a 12 rounder, it’s likely that Yoka would have been knocked out because he was no match for Bakole.

The 42-year-old Takam (39-7-1, 28 KOs) has obviously been brought in as a confidence booster for Yoka, but this could be a mistake. Despite his age, Takam is still powerful and plenty dangerous, as we saw in his last fight against unbeaten contender Arslanbek Makhmudov.

Thus far, Yoka is another example of a fighter that was good in the amateur ranks but who’s success has failed to carry over to the pro ranks. Of course, Yoka has further hurt himself by failing to fight frequently to gain momentum, and his opposition has been pedestrian at best.

The type of guys that Yoka has fought is usually those that fighters with no amateur experience are matched against, not Olympians with a long amateur career. What that suggests is maybe Yoka’s management was aware of flaws in his game and may not have been comfortable putting him in with better opposition, knowing that he’d fall apart.

What channel or stream is Yoka vs. Takam?

Yoka-Takam will be shown on ESPN+ in the United States this Saturday, March 11, and the event starts at 2:45 p.m. ET/11:45 a.m. PT.

In the UK, Yoka vs. Takam will be broadcast on Sky Sports.

Takam gave Makhmudov all he could handle in losing a 10 round unanimous decision. There were a lot of rabbit punches and leaning that Makhmudov did that could have resulted in points taken away if the referee had been so inclined to police the fight.

The 30-year-old Yoka’s career has failed to take off after his questionable Olympic gold medal in 2016. For some reason, the 6’7″ Yoka hasn’t been busy with his career, and his opposition has poor until his recent step up against Bakole last year, a fight where he looked totally overmatched.

In contrast, Joe Joyce, who Yoka beat in the finals of the 2016 Olympic, is ranked #1 WBO and is on the doorstep of a world title shot. Joyce has been a lot more ambitious with his career than Yoka, and because of that, he’s poised to be fighting for a world title.

Joyce already beat Takam by a sixth round knockout two years ago in 2021. It’ll be interesting to see how Yoka does against Takam. If Yoka loses or struggles to win, that would affirm in the minds of many that his gold medal win over Joyce in the 2016 Olympics was a robbery.

When is Yoka vs. Takam? Date & start time

The date for Yoka-Takam will be this Saturday, March 11, with the card starting at 2:45 p.m. ET/11:45 A.M. PT.

Takam hasn’t fought a fight in three years since beating Jerry Forrest by a 10 round decision. However, Takam’s last two fights were against Joe Joyce and Arslanbek Makhmudov, so you can’t fault him for failing to beat those guys.

Just going the 10 round distance against Makhmudov showed that Takam still has a lot of ability because he was up against a big puncher who had knocked out his previous 14 opponents. At the same time, the shots that Takam landed on the chin of Makhudov would have knocked out a lot of fighters, including Yoka.

Six years ago, Takam was stopped in the tenth round in a questionable stoppage in October 2017 in Wales. Takam landed many big shots on Joshua and had him looking flustered at times. In Takam’s next fight, he was dominating Derek Chisora until getting caught with a big shot punch in the tenth round, and taken out.

Yoka-Takam undercard

  • Thomas Faure vs. Dan Azeez
  • Farhaad Saad vs. Macauley McGowan
  • Lauren Price vs. Naomi Mannes

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