Here’s a plot twist I didn’t see coming. Wasserman’s lengthy struggle to secure an opponent for Filip Hrgovic’s ordered IBF final eliminator is at an end, as former Olympic foe Tony Yoka has “formally” accepted the challenge after both Luis Ortiz and Joseph Parker declined.
CONFIRMED: @TonyYoka has formally accepted tonight in writing the challenge to fight @Filip_Hrgovic in a final IBF Final Eliminator for the Heavyweight World Championship - El Animal has found a dance partner pic.twitter.com/LB0datFo4H— Kalle & Nisse Sauerland (@SauerlandBros) January 13, 2022
Yoka (11-0, 9 KO) and Hrgovic (14-0, 12 KO) met in the Rio 2016 super heavyweight semifinals, with Yoka emerging victorious by a controversial split decision that was ultimately overshadowed by his even more bogus gold medal victory over Joe Joyce. Neither man has really found his footing as a pro, though for very different reasons. Yoka spent a year on the sidelines after skipping three drug tests, while Hrgovic got screwed out of a fight with Michael Hunter when “The Bounty” bailed on late notice.
I was definitely displeased when Yoka’s planned Saturday clash with Martin Bakole fell through, but this is one hell of a consolation prize. It’s got professional stakes, personal stakes, and forces two heretofore untested heavyweights to show what they’ve really got. We’ll let you know when and if this comes together.