Tony Yoka sticks out his tongue, but not from fatigue.
Loic VENANCE / AFP
Victorious by Christian Hammer points on Friday night in Nantes, Tony Yoka continues his conquest of the world heavyweight title without a hitch.
The 2016 Olympic champion mastered his fight from start to finish, but never managed to send an opponent that was very provocative and sometimes to the limit.
He prefers to laugh about it with his clan a few minutes after his victory in points.
Tony Yoka, small bump on the forehead and reddened left cheekbone, shows his left shoulder, right where his evening opponent Christian Hammer tried to put his incisors… Friday evening, at the H Arena in Nantes, episode 9 of La Conquest - the famous campaign that is to lead the 2016 Olympic champion to the title of world heavyweight champion - has lasted longer than the previous ones.
It took ten hooked but controlled rounds for Tony Yoka (2.01 m, 108.500 kg, now 9 wins, including 7 before the limit, 0 loss) to bend in points (100-89 for the three judges) the German Christian Hammer (33 years old, 1.89m, 117.700 kg, 25 wins, including 15 before the limit, 7 losses).
“I had announced that he was a very tough, robust opponent, Yoka analyzes.
We are getting closer to the world top 10.
I had to pass this test with flying colors.
A rogue and vicious opponent
Hands down maybe not, but with great skill certainly.
Faced with a rigorous, vicious, cunning opponent, the Frenchman, more mobile, never left his fight.
He really could have, especially by dint of seeing the "hammer" (Hammer's nickname) throwing him smirks when he took a piss or when the German ran headlong into his neck to save time and resume breathlessness, or when Hammer hit him after a "stop" from the referee.
“He hangs, he dirties, it is not clean what he does, lists Yoka, 18th world before this fight.
There were repeated head shocks, the referee said stop but he continued to hit.
"Worse still," he tried to bite me, prefers to smile the French boxer.
He is an opponent who spoils the fight, but I stayed focused.
"And throughout the duration of the duel, which is not easy for a boxer used to sending his opponents to the mat at the speed of sound (K.-O. after 1 m 27 seconds during his last duel in September) ...
“It did me good to do ten rounds tonight, I know I go the distance physically.
I needed to test myself in the hardness and in the duration.
It was thus necessary to go back to October 2017 to find a trace of a fight won by points by Yoka (in six times against the American Jonathan Rice).
"If it had been a fight in twelve rounds, he might have fallen," said Yoka, who obviously would have liked to scream with joy after another knockout.
The absent audience could have helped him.
“Maybe with spectators when I touched it several times, I could have kept typing.
I miss the spectators.
Especially those from Nantes.
We were pleasantly surprised last year.
It was the best audience we had found.
Nantes spectators who still will not be able to support him, from December 20, to face Croatian Milas (25 years old, 1.94 m, 15 wins, including 11 before the limit, 0 defeat) for the vacant Union title European heavyweight.
When Tony Yoka confronts Christian Hammer, known as "the hammer", the fight starts at the weigh-in
Nantes: boxer Tony Yoka takes a subscription to the H Arena