Boxing: after a third consecutive defeat, what does the future hold for Tony Yoka?
Tony Yoka lost for the third time in a row on Saturday, December 9 at Roland Garros. A crushing defeat that seemed to break the Frenchman, whose sporting slump contrasts with the Olympic glory that put him on the royal road to professional boxing with global ambitions. At 31 years old, what does the future hold for him?
Tony Yoka during his loss to Ryad Mehry, at Roland Garros, on December 9, 2023. AFP - MIGUEL MEDINA
By: Sophiane Amazian | Yohann Le Coz Follow
Tony Yoka suffered his third straight loss. Enough to plunge his professional future into a thick fog, after having experienced the pinnacle of Olympic gold in Rio in 2016. Technically and powerfully surpassed by Ryad Mehry, to whom the unanimous victory of the judges on Saturday 9 December in the evening at Roland Garros, the Frenchman now knows what to do in his career. "I have to talk about it with my team" was the only laconic answer that the interested party gave to the question of whether or not he wanted to persevere in the art number.
Brahim Asloum, also an Olympic boxing champion in 2000, attended the opposition and closely followed Yoka's career. "Unlike his two previous defeats, which were clearer and more violent, psychologically and physically, this is not a big deal," said the Sydney gold medallist. I've seen him take hits, accept them, come back to charge."
💥 Ryad Merhy wins by unanimous decision of the judges!
3rd loss in a row for Tony Yoka... #YokaMerhy pic.twitter.com/IHutXra6pG
— CANAL+ Sport (@CanalplusSport) December 9, 2023
On the other hand, he did not hesitate to point the finger at his compatriot's imperfect boxing: "He lacked a bit of rhythm, we had to give more punches. You're not going to settle for one or two punches when you have an opponent who gives you four, five punches. He's an Olympic champion, the expectations are with him."
What if the explanations weren't just technical, physical or tactical? Yoka seemed completely idle, lost in the cold of the Porte d'Auteuil, when his defeat was announced, due to an incomplete performance that he had judged sufficient. For Ryad Mehry's trainer, the level displayed by his colt's opponent is a mystery: "His coach, Don Charles, is an excellent coach," insisted "coach Sam". Maybe there wasn't enough time for them to work... I don't know where the problem comes from."
« Is he still hungry? »
Mysterious enough to call into question an entire career plan, a whole life plan. Because it was indeed a life that Yoka had tried to trace with the contract with Canal+, making the encrypted channel the sole broadcaster of his gloves, with the promise of dazzling brilliance among the world's elite boxers. Today, there is only one fight left on the contract that ensures him substantial purses for each appearance.
It's never over, he's very young, he's 31 years old, so he can still do things," said coach Sam. There's a real questioning, it's either he finds the key or he stops boxing, but it's possible that he will find it." Brahim Asloum is also of the opinion of coach Sam, the situation is not necessarily a dead end: "Come on, we ignore the fact that he lost, imagines Asloum. A lot of boxers around the world have lost fights and they have become world champions. Now the real question is: is he still hungry or not? »
Becoming world champion, Yoka has probably given up on it. On the other hand, to come back strong and fast, in boxing, the support of the public is necessary to create enthusiasm around its fights. After a failure in the partnership with Canal+, Yoka will soon be at the time of choice.
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