Nine months after his last professional fight, Tony Yoka is back in business. This Saturday, the French heavyweight faces Belgium's Ryad Merhy, in what must be the climax of a prestigious evening at Roland-Garros. But the 2016 Olympic champion goes into the evening under pressure, after his back-to-back defeats to Martin Bakole and Carlos Takam ended his unbeaten streak and shattered his dreams of a world belt.
D-7 before Tony Yoka's return to Roland-Garros against Ryad Merhy! 🥊
Watch the fight live on CANAL+😍 pic.twitter.com/GahGdYU7xY
— CANAL+ Sport (@CanalplusSport) December 2, 2023
Yoka, who has fallen to 27th place in the world, knows that he no longer has the right to make mistakes if he ever wants to complete his "conquest". Stunned by his latest setback, he "took the time" and changed a lot of things, starting with his training conditions. Now based in London, he is overseen by Don Charles, Anthony Joshua's former coach, who has the difficult task of reviving him. "I know a lot of people don't expect much from me anymore," he admits. But since I'm a vengeful person, I want to show them that it's here again. »
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At first glance, Merhy, ranked 44th in the world, is an opponent within his reach and above all relatively unknown. A former light heavyweight, he moved late to the most prestigious category and still has 31 wins and two losses. Before the evening's line-up, two other fights will also take place on Court Phillipe-Chatrier: the France light heavyweight championship between Gaëtan Ntambwe and Dylan Colin and, in the same category, an opposition between Frenchman Voldy Toutin and Slovakia's Vladimir Belujsky.
The fight between Tony Yoka and Ryad Merhy is scheduled for 22:35 p.m. this Saturday, December 9 and will be broadcast live on Canal+.