First defeat for Tony Yoka among the pros, beaten by Martin Bakole

First hitch in “The Conquest”. Tony Yoka took one knee to the ground, dominated like never before since the start of his professional career. He had a terrible start to the fight this Saturday at the Accor Arena, drunk with blows from the powerful Martin Bakole, whose right hooks hurt from the start. Yoka raised his head and there was a match. But he ended up bowing, on a split decision.

The Olympic champion of the Rio 2016 Games achieved a second recovery of a better ilk, pushed by Bercy. But he did not regain the upper hand, his fists seeming to weigh much less than those of his Congolese opponent. Yoka finished the third round with a bloody face and remained in the hot seat for the entire first half of the fight.


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The fifth recovery once again attested to the domination of Bakole (28 years old). His French rival was counted a second time, his right ankle slipping away, when he had just cashed in a right. Yoka then bowed down, without breaking. A positive sign at the heart of this evening which will remain like that of his first pro defeat, in his twelfth fight.

Tony Yoka even dictated the tempo from the seventh to the ninth round, after an encouraging sixth round and notably from a well-felt uppercut. But Bakole never wavered. He even sometimes sported a provocative smile, sure of his strength. Before the final three-minute clash, he exuded a noticeable serenity in his corner. We quickly understood why, observing his last boost.

Very lively at the end of this duel, Martin Bakole confirmed his eighteenth success in nineteen fights at this level. He held his rank as the thirteenth best heavyweight in the world (BoxRec ranking). Two notches above Yoka (15th), who reached new heights this Saturday. Faced with a boxer more massive and almost as lively as him, he did not find the fault. It was his first big challenge and it ended in failure.

Tony Yoka reacted well, against Martin Bakole… but the latter regained the upper hand at the end of the fight – 05/14/2022, at Bercy

Credit: Getty Images


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