Tony Yoka returns to action this Friday night after a lay-off of nearly a year, as the Frenchman takes part in a ten rounder at Heavyweight against Johann Duhaupas.
Yoka, a 2016 Olympic Super Heavyweight Gold Medallist has not been without controversy throughout his career so far and he looks to fast track his way towards a world title shot against a former world title challenger in Paris.
Yoka (7-0, KO6) captured Olympic Gold in Rio with a tight points win over Joe Joyce, and turned professional just under a year later with a second round stoppage of Travis Walker.
He went the distance for the first and only time as a professional three months later, outscoring Jonathan Rice, who was defeated by Efe Ajagba on Saturday in Las Vegas.
Two further wins led to a meeting with Dave Allen, and the British favourite was brave, but hammered over ten rounds and couldn’t last the distance as he was stopped with just under a minute of the final round gone.
That fight would prove to be Yoka’s last contest for a year, as he was banned by the French Anti-Doping Agency, who served him with a twelve month suspension for missing three drug tests between July 2016 and 2017. An appeal was subsequently rejected.
Yoka returned in July 2019 to defeat the faded Alexander Dimitrenko in three, and his last fight was at the back end of September that same year, stopping recent Joe Joyce foe, Michael Wallisch in three rounds.
It’s a French derby for Yoka at La Defense Arena in Paris against former WBC Heavyweight world title challenger, Johann Duhaupas.
The 39-year-old is at the tail end of his career, but has taken some quality operators a fair few rounds.
Duhaupas (38-5, KO25) went 17-0 before failing in an EU title bid on the cards against Fabio Pianeta in December 2008, after turning over way back in 2004.
An impressive win against Manuel Charr over ten led to a dream chance at the WBC belt in September 2015, but despite a brave effort, Deontay Wilder handed him a first stoppage defeat in eleven rounds.
After a low key comeback win, Duhaupas then took the unbeaten record of Robert Helenius, knocking the Finn out in six to win the WBC Silver belt.
He stepped in at less than a days’ notice next to face Alexander Povetkin, who had failed a drug test to face Bernard Stiverne, but the show went on, and Povetkin stopped Duhaupas in six.
He is 4-1 since that reverse, with his only loss coming in April 2018, taking the disgraced Jarrell Miller twelve rounds and was last seen in October last year, knocking out Luis Pascual in two rounds in Lyon.
Prediction: Duhaupas won’t have a lot of ambition left at 39, and Yoka will be looking to make up for lost time and rise up the rankings. I think Duhaupas will take Yoka some rounds, but will most likely be stopped or retire just after the halfway mark here.