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For Tony Yoka, it's time to step up

2020-09-24T16:51:35.579Z

The Olympic champion must win against Johann Duhaupas before aiming for the world title in 2021 or 2022. Tuesday afternoon, in the very select boxing club of the Temple du Noble Art in the 17th arrondissement of Paris, Tony Yoka is working on his supports, fine-tuning his dodging and multiplying the series of blows. In a small group and in front of the lenses of a few photographers who have come to capture the sculptural beauty of the elegant boxer in action, the 2016 Olympic champion reveals himself



Tuesday afternoon, in the very select boxing club of the Temple du Noble Art in the 17th arrondissement of Paris, Tony Yoka is working on his supports, fine-tuning his dodging and multiplying the series of blows.

In a small group and in front of the lenses of a few photographers who have come to capture the sculptural beauty of the elegant boxer in action, the 2016 Olympic champion reveals himself one last time in the ring before retiring to his bubble.

As much to focus on the fight which will oppose him to his compatriot Johann Duhaupas, this Friday evening (10:15 p.m. on Canal +) in Paris la Défense Arena as to protect himself from the risk of contamination from Covid-19.

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Yoka knows it, a postponement would be very problematic in the calendar which must lead him to conquering a world belt in heavyweights.

It's been a year since the 28-year-old Parisian, who landed among the professionals in 2017, has not put the gloves back on in competition (victory by the referee's stoppage in the third round, against Michael Wallisch last September).

The health crisis and tense negotiations with his opponent once again disrupted his program, already slowed down by a suspension (between August 2018 and July 2019) for three breaches of his whereabouts obligations in the doping control program.

Twelve rounds

“There are events that I have no control over and I should have fought four or five times this year.

But, if I did not take a lead, I tell myself that the others also could not box ”, slips fatalist the young father who took advantage of the parenthesis imposed by the health crisis to accompany the pregnancy of his companion.

Estelle Mossely, who will be in the ring a few hours before her protégé, gave birth in May to their second child, Magomed.

A year of waiting.

Yoka turns like a lion in a cage before challenging the Northerner Johann Duhaupas (43 fights, 38 wins and 5 losses), with a more convincing pedigree than those of the first seven opponents.

At 39 years old, the "Reptile" is an old-fashioned boxer, tough and certainly no longer represents the future of boxing but his CV shows several World Championships and a few face-to-face against boxers of the top. world: Alexander Povetkin in 2016 and Deontay Wilder a year earlier.

"On paper it will be the hardest fight of my career"

"On paper it will be the hardest fight of my career," warns Yoka who accepted for the first time at the request of his opponent, a clash in twelve rounds.

An excellent test over time.

“I'm looking forward to this fight.

This opposition really excites me.

We haven't seen Tony take too many hits yet and it's going to be interesting to see how he concedes over twelve rounds.

He has an extraordinary technical background and a formidable ease to avoid attacks ”, saliva Brahim Alsoum, Olympic champion of the half-fly in Sydney in 2000.

Reviews

Yoka (7 fights, 7 wins) has not been spared by critics since he set foot among the professionals, on the choice of his opponents for example.

Faced with his detractors on social networks in particular, the French gritted his teeth, most of the time but was sometimes lost in answering.

A battle lost in advance.

“Frankly, I don't care.

When these criticisms come from the boxing world, from connoisseurs, there, OK.

But most of the time, they come from people who don't know anything about it.

I do not play football and I know nothing about it, if I criticize Paul Pogba, he will not care, ”slices the colossus of two meters.

“It's true, the choice of one or two opponents, especially the first (Travis Clark in 2017), was not perfect.

The public expected better than that.

But there, we have a rival up to the expectations of the public ”, slips in Figaro its promoter, Jérôme Abiteboul.

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“It's kinda easy to hit Tony.

The criticisms were sometimes justified, but we are still hard on him.

I know what I'm talking about, I've been there.

His fights are first and foremost made to store up experience, ”Asloum defends, appalled by the violence of certain critics at a time when getting everything and immediately seems to have become the norm.

“Who has ever managed an Olympic heavyweight champion in France?

No one.

It's much more complicated than in any other category.

You do not come out of the Olympics by being world champion snapping your fingers in stride, ”insists the candidate for the presidency of the French Boxing Federation.

“Tony has a personality that appeals or displeases but does not leave you indifferent.

He is the most publicized boxer in France, the one who fills the halls on his name ... "

Jérôme Abitboul, its promoter

Some outings on Twitter (he had reacted virulently to the death of George Floyd before apologizing), or his suspension, a fault of negligence, slightly clouded the image of the icon of French boxing.

His entourage does not evade the question.

“To say that we did not make mistakes is to hide the fact that we are not.

The one-year suspension, we would have done well.

Tony has a personality that appeals and displeases, but doesn't leave you indifferent.

He is the most publicized boxer in France, the one who fills the halls on his name while this sport has been neglected for years by the public, ”admits Abiteboul.

“The suspension, if I could go back on it, I would, I lost a year, but I did not sit idly by.

I don't live with regrets, ”Yoka says, his eyes riveted on this global opportunity, his leitmotif.

"I trace my path and I know where I am going and I know that I am right," he says calmly, with great determination.

" The reptile "

It will first be necessary to overcome the obstacle Duhaupas before considering challenging the greatest.

"I would like to in the second part of the year 2021, if I do well in my fights", projects the Habs.

His entourage leans more towards 2022. “He did not box for a year.

The idea is to go there when it is in optimal shape.

There, we must continue the fighting and first beat Duhaupas on Friday, ”said Abiteboul.

“The Reptile”, precisely, judges his compatriot still a little tender for the top.

“I would say that boxers that I have faced like Wilder or Povetkin are ahead, by their experience and professionalism.

They have a track record of world champions.

Tony is bound to be below.

Below, but not that far.

Last spring, WBC belt holder and current best heavyweight Tyson Fury named the Frenchman from a list of nine opponents he would like to face.

“I won't dodge anyone.

I would not have gone boxing for a belt in the first year of my pro career but if I have a chance, I will be ready, ”retorted the Frenchman about the Manchester terror plans.

Read also

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Source: lefigaro

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