Something was bound to come up.
Just under a week after Tony Yoka accepted the IBF’s order to face former Olympic rival Filip Hrgovic in a final eliminator, ESPN reports that Martin Bakole’s team “sent letters to the IBF” requesting that they cancel the bout, as Yoka is allegedly still under contract to meet Bakole in a postponed matchup.
Trainer/manager Billy Nelson claims that Yoka (11-0, 9 KO) co-promoter Jerome Abiteboul stated in writing that the fight was delayed as opposed to canceled. Considering the “400,000 euro” purse at stake, it’s no surprise that Bakole (17-1, 13 KO) is looking to get his spot back.
Odds are we’ll get our answer sooner rather than later, as “IBF president Daryl Peoples told ESPN that a ruling was imminent.”
Honestly, Yoka vs. Hrgovic (14-0, 12 KO) and Yoka vs. Bakole are both really solid matchups, so it’s a no-lose situation for the viewers. Definitely a win-lose situation for Hrgovic, though; should Bakole’s petition succeed, he’ll have to go back to combing the IBF rankings for a potential dance partner. Fellow medalist Joe Joyce is next in line, followed by Agit Kabayel, Murat Gassiev for some reason, and Andy Ruiz Jr.