Tony Yoka was beaten on points by Martin Bakole, by majority decision of the judges, Saturday evening at Paris-Bercy. This is the first defeat of the French boxing champion.
Stoppage in the “conquest”. Tony Yoka lost on points (96-92, 95-93, 94-94) to Congolese Martin Bakole on Saturday night at the Accor Arena in Paris-Bercy. The 30-year-old French boxer, clearly abused and sometimes close to knockout, was declared the loser by majority decision of the judges (a split decision had initially been announced, before rectification). This is his first loss in his professional career. He had previously garnered eleven consecutive victories.
“I was keen to have a good fight. (…) Martin was stronger, everyone could see it. Congratulations to him. It’s time to go back to work, and maybe change some things” , he reacted in the ring, thanking the public in passing, despite a few whistles.
“It was a big fight for me. Tony, he’s not a small boxer. So I’m very happy to have won this fight”, commented Martin Bakole, who signed his 18th victory.
A formidable adversary
Long mocked for the weak pedigree of his opponents, Tony Yoka was rising in rank and was preparing this time for a tougher duel against a solid and powerful boxer, who only lost once in 18 fights for 72 % of wins before the limit and aims like Yoka to quickly climb into the top 10 of the world rankings.
This opponent therefore presented a serious CV. At 28, the younger brother of WBC light-heavyweight world champion Ilunga Makabu is also the favorite sparring partner of premier class stars; Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury or Oleksandr Usyk have called on his services.
Yoka counted twice by the referee
We understand better why. Because after an explosive start from Bakole, Yoka ended up staggering mid-fight. So much so that the referee started counting, to warn him of a risk of defeat before the limit.
With courage, Yoka tried to get back in the saddle from the 7th round. But Martin Bakole did not flinch, and was able to take the few blows attempted by the 2016 tricolor Olympic champion, who will have to review his plans before aiming for a world belt and rubbing shoulders with the cream of the discipline.