Tony Yoka had a strong performance in boxing’s return to Roland Garros in Paris, putting previously unbeaten Peter Milas away in seven rounds.
Yoka (11-0, 9 KO) dropped Milas (15-1, 11 KO) twice in the seventh round, including a body shot just before the bell, which send Milas down to his butt in the corner. He did get up before the 10 count, but referee Ammar Sakraoui made the call to stop it there, which was fair. Milas did not have good legs and Yoka had pretty much taken over in the fight.
The 29-year-old Yoka wants to get his career moving quickly from here, and has expressed some frustration with his level of opposition and all that. He has Top Rank affiliation, so hopefully we could see him make his U.S. debut in the next year or so, though obviously that’s tougher than ever with the ongoing COVID travel situations that could always get worse, get better, get worse again, and so on.
In Austria, top Croatian prospect and emerging contender Filip Hrgovic absolutely battered a woefully overmatched but incredibly tough and brave Marko Radonjic for a fourth round stoppage. The referee called it off as soon as the bell sounded to start round four, so it was, like, 0:01 of round four.
Radonjic (22-1, 22 KO) had a paper thin record and took an enormous step up in competition here, and bless the guy, he gave this all he had. All he had just wasn’t near in league with Hrgovic (13-0, 11 KO), who put Radonjic down four times in the second round and once officially but probably twice in reality in the third. The referee really should have stopped this at some point in the second, but gave Radonjic every possible chance and then some, really.
The win proves absolutely nothing, but does get the 29-year-old Hrgovic moving, as he hadn’t fought since Nov. 2020, when he dominated Rydell Booker in Florida. Hrgovic had an IBF order to face Michael Hunter, but Hunter passed on the offer he was given to become a Triller megastar. Hrgovic badly needs a decent opponent next; you can’t ask the world or force anyone to fight him, but there’s a Grand Canyon between Radonjic and decent. Even a Carlos Takam or Sergey Kuzmin type would be far better than this.
Other results from Paris:
- Junior middleweight Souleymane Cissokho is now 14-0 (9 KO) following a fourth round stoppage of Ismail Iliev (13-3-1, 3 KO). Never was much of a contest, as Cissokho was simply too good, and he dropped Iliev in the fourth. The fight was stopped in the corner due to a pretty gnarly gash on Iliev.
- Mathieu Bauderlique (21-1, 12 KO) stopped Igor Mikhalkin (24-3, 11 KO) after seven rounds of good action to win the previously vacant European light heavyweight title. The 36-year-old Mikhalkin, a Russian based in Germany and very familiar to French boxing fans, was just a little bit behind the 32-year-old Bauderlique in this one, and Bauderlique was able to do damage and force a corner stoppage. Bauderlique doesn’t really figure to be a top light heavyweight contender, but he’s good at this level and there are worse fighters who get world title fights pretty often.
Other results from Austria:
- British 140 prospect Dalton Smith (9-0, 7 KO) stayed undefeated with a 10-round decision win over a game but outclassed Brian Pelaez (10-6, 1 KO). Smith, 24, was clearly the superior fighter from the get-go here, and more or less dominated, but he got a valuable 10-round distance in as he looks to move up over the next couple years in particular.
- Super middleweight contender John Ryder improved to 30-5 (17 KO) in a stay-busy light heavyweight bout, stopping Jozef Jurko (8-3, 6 KO) in the fifth round of what became a pretty huge mismatch on the fourth and fifth. Jurko never tested Ryder, but he did make it difficult for Ryder to land clean for a couple rounds, and he was tough. But Ryder busted Jurko’s nose bad in the fourth, and that was pretty much it. Broadcast discussed Ryder maybe staying at 175 since title shots at 168 may be hard to come by, and there may be something to that, but either way it’s a big hill for him to climb. But a fight with Dmitry Bivol for the WBA belt at 175 is surely doable.
- Abass Baraou (10-1, 7 KO) won a first round stoppage to bounce back from his decision loss to Jack Culcay a little over a year ago.