Boxing: Tony Yoka, is it time for a big change?

Boxing: Tony Yoka, is it time for a big change?

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Beaten by Martin Bakole by decision on Saturday night in Bercy, French heavyweight Tony Yoka suffered the first loss of his professional career in his twelfth fight. A clear brake on the global “conquest” of him. How to recover? What must change the person who announces that he must “perhaps change certain things”? The RMC Fighter Club breaks down the backhand of the 2016 Olympic champion.

In the ring, his words ended with a lump in his throat. The palpable emotion. “Martin was the strongest in the ring, everyone could see it. Congratulations to him. It’s time to go back to work, maybe change some things…” We can think what we want of Tony Yoka but we must recognize one thing: the French boxer did not hide this Saturday night in Bercy, where he was making his first, commenting on his first defeat in the professional ranks suffered by decision (mention to the grotesque 94-94 card of one of the judges…) against Martin Bakole.

More powerful, the Congolese boxing fake George Foreman manhandled the 2016 Olympic champion from the start of the fight, sending him to the canvas for the first time in his career in the first round. Emaciated, touched, Yoka suffered the lightning that served as a sparring partner for Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua or Oleksandr Usyk but at least he will have been able to not let go of the case and come back better in the second half of the fight. although the result already seemed crooked after twisting his ankle and being recounted by the referee in the fifth round. Faster and more mobile than his opponent, he didn’t know how to take advantage of it when things were going his best.

Cissokho: ‘He broke his nose during training camp’

“Tony had a little rebound after the middle of the fight, he landed more punches, but it’s still tight rounds and Bakole won the fight, we all agree,” analyzes Souleymane Cissokho, the French combat boxing consultant for the RMC podcast. Fighter Club and very close to Yoka. with whom he shared the Olympic adventure in 2016 and several letters with professionals. But Tony didn’t let go. Many would have given up. We would have liked him to do more to make a difference at the end, it was possible because Bakole was starting to get tired, but it’s a fight where he will learn a lot.”

And that he didn’t come close to 100% of his means, which may explain his difficulty cashing out (and his rapidly bleeding nose). “What we don’t know is that he broke his nose during his training camp, confesses Souleymane Cissokho, and putting on the gloves was complicated between his bar helmet and the many bleeds. He has a small blow in terms of confidence, he plays with morale A boxer who is 100% ready does not worry and has no apprehension, he goes for it 100%, while unconsciously the one who had an injury puts a little brake on him. I talked a lot with his entourage and this is the first fight where they were worried because it wasn’t easy with this broken nose.Given the result, they were right to fear Bakole, the biggest test in their path so far.

Our consultant also mentions things he “can’t say” but Tony “can say at the end of his career”, with the implication of possible physical failure. We may know more one day. And now? What’s next for Yoka? If his critics rejoiced in his downfall, you have to quickly sweep away the toxic culture of zero — having zero career losses like Floyd Mayweather — to realize that rebounding is possible. We will have to “go back to work”, as he says, but a setback is not a definitive break, try this Bakole defeated by the American Michael Hunter in 2018 and who has maintained seven wins since then. “Il a déjà connu la défaite chez les amateurs, et même la défaite avant la limite, rappelle Souleymane Cissokho, et on connaît la finalité de l’histoire où il était devenu champion du monde et champion olympique. Pour moi, c’est la same thing.”

The stop to the “conquest” is clear. But it’s important not to bury Yoka’s career. Member of the world top 20, the boxer will still have other great opportunities. He will probably start with the EBU European championship against the German Agit Kabayel, already in the pipes before the fight against Bakole. At this point in his career, right after his first loss, we’d also like to see the man of twelve fights in five and a half years of pro fighting on Top Rank (his American co-promoter) cards without being too light like this. is the case when he boxed in his country.

But his commitment to Canal is still three fights long and we can’t imagine the encrypted channel easily agreeing to see his fights broadcast in the middle of the night. “If it were up to him, I would have boxed in the United States for a long time,” confirms Souleymane Cissokho. As if he was a bit “stuck”. So what is left to do? Change trainers and leave Virgil Hunter, who said he was disappointed after the fight that he hadn’t been with him in his training camp, Yoka training without him in Las Vegas, for another trainer who would better develop his power and ability to handle the clinch How did Sugar Hill Steward know how to do in Kronk with Tyson Fury after the first fight against Deontay Wilder? You have to work on other deficiencies, for example in defense.

But Souleymane Cissokho, also trained by Hunter, clarifies: “The important thing is not the name. It is being with someone with whom you can create a strong relationship. There are plenty of coaches, but the relationship has to fit well. His lack of power? He still broke Bakole’s nose! Tony, he’s someone who manages to hurt. But when you get hit like that in the first round, and he was well hit, sometimes you’re not your morale anymore and you lose all your skills. Behind, It wasn’t on his legs anymore. I don’t know if Bakole is better than Tony. That was the case that night, but I don’t think that was the case in absolute terms.”

“We buried Tony too quickly”

And concludes our consultant: “We buried Tony a little too quickly. Before that, we said that he had gained power, that he used his hooks better, that he became a real professional boxer. And there, for a loss, we are reviewing everything about his career He made a good transition between amateur boxing and professional boxing but things came out that we thought in the past, when he could have walked Bakole with his qualities Olympic champion, able to take his fights to Roland-Garros or Bercy, Tony Yoka has done a lot for French boxing in recent years, but now, after this first defeat, he may have to think a little more about his own career, and that could go through changes since he launched it himself.

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