We hear the gloves colliding, the cries of the boxers on each stroke, the referee’s instructions, and then that’s it. Not the cries of the public if not those of relatives like those of his wife Estelle at the foot of the ring, nor the encouragement that usually animates nor the fights. A boxing night behind closed doors is really special. This silence in the H Arena in Nantes this Friday evening did not disturb Tony Yoka too much.
For his 9th professional heavyweight fight, the Olympic heavyweight champion (108.5kg), ranked 18th in the world in the category, beat on points the German born in Romania Christian Hammer (117.7 kg), ranked 39th. after his 31 fights. But the former opponent of Tyson Fury was still in the top 15 a year ago when the two should have faced each other at Bercy. At the end of 2019, the German had injured his shoulder a few days before the fight.
12 cm taller than his opponent (2.01 m against 1.89 m), Tony Yoka tried as usual to gain respect from the start. But Hammer offered him a lot more resistance than Johann Duhaupas two months ago.
“Hammer is a hornet”
In front of an opponent more paunchy and seeking the clinch so as not to expose himself, Yoka had to be patient, more than usual. Remember that these three previous fights in 2019 and 2020 never went further than the third round. This one went a lot further and that’s a good thing for the Frenchman who needs to measure up to the difficulty by spending time in the ring. His “conquest” is at this price.
Hit in the right eye after an involuntary header in the second round, Hammer was more of a concern for Yoka than his previous opponents. Admittedly, unspectacular in his shots, the German played the watch waiting for a possible fault of the French. “We think he’s slow but in fact Hammer is a hornet,” Yoka warned before the fight.
The fight was also broadcast in the United States
More precise, faster, more technical, Yoka had only suffered 4 blows after 4 rounds against nearly twenty on the German’s body. But the latter forced him to remain vigilant throughout the face-to-face.
This time, Yoka rubbed shoulders with a professional boxer who showed him that the road to the world heavyweight champion’s title won’t be all easy fights. At the end of a fight also broadcast live on American TV on ESPN history of showing itself in the United States, he won in points without dispute after ten times all won unanimously by the judges. When counting the impacts, Yoka took only 19 hits against 78 to his opponent.
This is only the second time that the Olympic champion is forced to go after such a long fight without going through the KO box: “I said it: I knew we were going to do a lot of rounds. Hammer is one of the cream of heavyweights. I held all 10 rounds. I completely feel that I am passing a course with such an opponent. I had a good fight against a good opponent. I’m approaching the World Top 10 and I’m happy, ”said the Olympic champion at the end of the evening at the microphone of Canal +.
Under the eyes of her husband accompanied by her two sons who took a few minutes to come and encourage her in the silence of the H Arena, Estelle Yoka-Mossely beat the Marseillaise Emma Gongora at the start of the meeting for her 8th pro fight in the light weights. Specialist in fists, the Phocaean gave a hard time to the Olympic champion, still undefeated. Touched in the arcade from the second round, she bravely defended her luck, not at all impressed by her opponent. She even put Estelle Yoka-Mossely in real difficulty before the latter won on points after 8 times: “I had changed opponents three days before the fight, the one planned tested positive for the Covid,” said the boxer on Canal +. I thank my opponent for accepting the fight at the last minute but I had to adapt to it. The work is not yet finished because I am not yet back on top. “