Top Rank’s heavyweight push continues, and in keeping with the Jarrell Miller theme of “big dudes with drug test issues,” the current target is 2016 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist Tony Yoka. Bob Arum is currently in Paris for negotiations, and tells RMC Sport that the discussions are “very positive.”
Yoka (7-0, 6 KO) won gold at the 2015 world amateur championships before doing the same in Rio, beating red-hot prospect Filip Hrgovic in the semis and Joe Joyce in the finals. He got off to a decent professional start, but was hit with a one-year suspension after his knockout of Dave Allen for skipping three separate drug tests.
Not great optics there.
He returned to action last July with a quick finish of Alexander Dimitrenko and followed that up with a knockout of Michael Wallisch two months later. The 27-year-old has yet to compete outside of his native France, but that’s likely to change if he throws his lot in with Top Rank.
The man has an excellent amateur pedigree, is an impressive physical specimen at 6’7,” and has crushed mid-tier pros without issue, so if you’re willing to hold your nose on the drug thing, he’s worth following. Personally, I want to see him and Miller fight with a contract at stake.