According to reporting by Dan Rafael, French heavyweight and Olympic gold medalist Tony Yoka will face countryman Carlos Takam on January 15, 2022 in Paris.
Like Yoka’s last several fights, this one will be available on ESPN+. Yoka was reportedly in talks to face Martin Bakole in December, which itself would have been a nice step up, but for whatever reason that no longer appears to be the plan.
Tony Yoka (11-0, 9 KO) has faced decent opposition in his career thus far, fighting Johnny Rice and David Allen in his second and fifth pro fights. However, since then he’s mostly been treading water against the same caliber of opponents, defeating experienced but non-threatening veterans like Alexander Dimitrenko, Michael Wallisch, Johann Duhaupus, and Christian Hammer. He also took out undefeated Croatian Petar Milas in September, but the general consensus is that with his advanced age and amateur experience, it is past time for him to begin testing himself like his Olympic rival and heavyweight contender Joe Joyce has.
This may well be rationale behind this matchup, as Joe Joyce recently followed up his impressive defeat of Daniel Dubois with a TKO6 victory over the battle-tested and game Carlos Takam (39-6-1, 28 KO) in July, 2021. Takam has been competing against world-class heavyweights for years, losing to Alexander Povetkin, Joseph Parker, Anthony Joshua, Derek Chisora, and most recently Joe Joyce.
If Yoka is able to win impressively against Takam, that could set the stage for a professional rematch of his controversial SD win over Joe Joyce in the super-heavyweight gold medal final in Rio 2016. It’s a natural fight to make, and one with all the right storylines, particularly with AIBA corruption in the 2016 Olympics back in the headlines this year.