Unbeaten Heavyweight Prospects Tony Yoka-Filip Hrgovic Will Meet
Looks like we’ll get a very intriguing Heavyweight prospect battle between two old amateur foes later this Spring. This, after reports surfaced that unbeaten French contender Tony Yoka will battle fellow unbeaten Croatian Filip Hrgovic in an IBF eliminator bout.
Nisse Sauerland of Wasserman Boxing, Hrgovic’s co-promoter announced on Twitter Thursday afternoon that Yoka had accepted the IBF’s offer letter to him to face the Croat, whom Yoka defeated in the 2016 Olympic semi- final of the Super Heavyweight division.
CONFIRMED: @TonyYoka has formally accepted tonight in writing the challenge to fight @Filip_Hrgovic in a final IBF Final Eliminator for the Heavyweight World Championship – El Animal has found a dance partner 🔥 pic.twitter.com/LB0datFo4H
— Kalle & Nisse Sauerland (@SauerlandBros) January 13, 2022
Yoka, who went on to defeat England’s Joe Joyce in the Gold medal fight five and half years ago, has risen up the world rankings with an 11-0 record and 9 KOs against mainly nondescript competition. This will obviously be a big step up to take on the 14-0, 12 KOs Hrgovic.
For his part, Yoka cryptically posted on social media himself later on Thursday evening, seemingly acknowledging that he’ll meet Hrgovic or anyone else, anywhere, anytime
Anyone, anytime, ANYPLACE
Vous me connaissez, je ne me suis jamais caché. pic.twitter.com/FbLjZx0XHu
— Tony YOKA (@TonyYoka) January 13, 2022
The door opened for the potential Yoka-Hrgovic battle when the promoters and organizers of Yoka’s latest planned fight, which was to have been this Saturday night in Paris, was scrapped due to Covid 19 concerns and limiting of attendance. Yoka would have fought 17-1 Martin Bakole of the Congo.
Hear more on this week’s action in the ring and also the latest analysis of Terence Crawford’s lawsuit against Top Rank Boxing on our “BFW Preview” podcast:
As for Hrgovic, he’s had a hard time with opponents recently himself.
He was to have fought American top five IBF contender Michael Hunter this past Fall, but Hunter pulled out on the bout to get a more lucrative payday through Triller Fight Club. Instead, Hrgovic fought Emir Ahmatovic on the undercard of Devin Haney’s successful WBC Lightweight title defense over JoJo Diaz in December. Hrgovic destroyed Ahmatovic in under 3 rounds by TKO.
His promoter, Eddie Hearn with Matchroom Boxing, had hoped to pair Hrgovic with either veteran Cuban, big puncher Luis “King Kong” Ortiz or New Zealand’s Joseph Parker, but both of them declined the IBF offer.
An offer that Yoka was willing to accept and now we’ll likely get a better fight than if Hrgovic had fought any of the other three proposed fighters who’ve not wanted Hrgovic.