French heavyweight prospect Tony Yoka had to go a full 10 rounds for the first time in his career, but got a solid if not exactly thrilling win over durable veteran Christian Hammer today in Nantes, France.
The 28-year-old Yoka (9-0, 7 KO) going the distance with a guy like Hammer (25-7, 15 KO) isn’t a bad thing in and of itself; it’s valuable to get rounds against guys who know how to survive, which the 33-year-old Hammer does, and can be a little trickier to fight, which Hammer can be. But Yoka clearly still has questions to be answered, as Hammer was able to have some success, especially in close, and also used some rough tactics and, let’s just say what they were, fouls to throw Yoka off his rhythm at many times.
But Yoka also didn’t get overly frustrated by the rough stuff or let it make him reckless or dumb. He stuck to his plan and took a clear decision here, and now will look to keep inching his competition forward, one would figure. He’s mentioned fighting someone like Derek Chisora in 2021, which could definitely be a dangerous, interesting fight. Chisora’s certainly no world-beater, but he’s tough and aggressive and could make for an intriguing matchup for where Yoka is in his career.
- Victor Faust UD-6 Kamil Sokolowski: Faust (5-0, 4 KO) is a 28-year-old Ukrainian heavyweight based in Germany, not a blue chipper but could be a guy who becomes a solid player in the division for sure. He dropped Sokolowski (10-20-2, 4 KO) once, which may not seem like much, but Sokolowski is a solid gatekeeper type, usually goes the distance even when he’s outclassed, has had a lot of nights where he gave people good work. He more or less did that here, but it was clearly Faust’s fight.
- Volkan Gokcek SD-6 Aboubeker Bechelagem: Some controversy here, as Bechelagem (12-12-2, 0 KO) was originally announced the split decision winner. Gokcek (5-0, 2 KO) didn’t leave the ring, his promoter got in there, there was a lot of discussion with the commission, and eventually the 24-year-old Turkish junior welterweight prospect was announced the winner by split decision, with one of the cards having been read wrong. Scores were 58-56 and 59-55 Gokcek, and 58-56 Bechelagem. They did get the correct winner, the original Bechelagem announcement was itself going to be extremely controversial.
- Estelle Yoka-Mossely UD-8 Emma Gongora: Pretty easy work for Yoka-Mossely, who won gold at Rio 2016, etc., we’ve been over it. Yoka-Mossely (8-0, 1 KO) is a lightweight contender, but this was a stay-busy fight, as she had in September, and she apparently wants to try to get one more in before the end of 2020. Gongora (0-2) is really a kickboxer by trade and came in on three days’ notice here. She had her moments and gave her best but wasn’t in league with Yoka-Mossely.