IBF rules Tony Yoka ineligible for title disqualification, new opponent bought for Hrgovic

The search continued to find an available heavyweight ranked for Filip Hrgovic.

Hopes of competing the undefeated Croatian against former amateur rival Tony Yoka in the final elimination match were dashed late on Thursday night. The IBF ruled in favor of the appeal of Martin Bakole, who less than 48 hours earlier had successfully argued he was still owed a match against Yoka that disqualified the undefeated French player from participating in the competition. enter into an agreement with any other competitor.

Veteran boxing scribe Dan Rafael was the first to reveal the news in an overnight tweet.

Yoka (11-0, 9KOs) had previously accepted an invitation to join negotiations to take on Hrgovic (14-0, 12KOs) to determine the next IBF mandatory challenger with the IBF unified heavyweight. /WBA/WBO/IBO is currently Oleksandr Usyk (19 -0, 13KOs). This process has been challenged by Bakole (17-1, 13KOs), who is still awaiting a rescheduling date for his postponed match against Yoka. Both due to a collision on January 15 at the Accor Hotel Arena in Paris, only because of Covid restrictions to close the card and caused the event promoter Allstar Boxing France to announce an indefinite postponement.

Bakole and coach/manager Billy Nelson provided written evidence to the IBF that they were assured of a rescheduled date in March. What’s more fanciful to their appeal was the written assurance that the event was only postponed, not canceled altogether, which made Yoka ineligible for title removal or any other calls. any other war.

With Thursday’s ruling, Yoka and his team will likely reconsider their plans to face Bakole in March or whenever the French government again allows large gatherings.

Meanwhile, the IBF is forced to further lower the list of ranked candidates, which means a fourth heavyweight will be contacted to face Hrgovic. Veteran heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz and former WBO heavyweight major Joseph Parker were offered a similar opportunity but they turned it down for different reasons.

Ortiz (33-2, 28KOs; 2NC) remains the second-ranked heavyweight after his sixth-round knockout against former IBF heavyweight Charles Martin earlier this month. The victory was soon followed by an offer from the IBF to enter talks with Hrgovic, only to have the Miami-based Cuban men’s team falter due to a broken arm in victory over Martin rendering him unable to fight in the tournament. Next few months.

Hrgrovic and his team – Wasserman Boxing and Matchroom Boxing – were hoping for a showdown in the spring.

Parker of New Zealand (30-2, 21KOs) was officially invited on 5 January, turning down the offer just days later. Parker — who is on the verge of a repeat win over Derek Chisora ​​on December 18 last year — and his team have cited that a different direction has been sought, including hopes of a rematch with the former champion. unified heavyweight Andy Ruiz (34-2, 22KOs).

The IBF turned to Yoka, who accepted the invitation and immediately began negotiations. A professional match against Hrgovic would have an intriguing storyline, as the two have met three times while competing as amateurs. Hrgovic owns a win from back in the 2010 World Youth Championship.

Yoka has since avenged that defeat twice during their adult years, overcoming Croat in the final round of the 2015 World Amateur Championship and a year later in the semifinals of the division. Rio 2016 Olympic superheavyweight Hrgovic was left out to take home bronze, while Yoka took Olympic gold after a win over England’s Joe Joyce (13-0, 12KOs), who – fittingly – is an IBF candidate with next highest ranking.

Joyce had previously beaten Hrgovic with the winning goal in the 2012-13 season of the World Series of Boxing.

An invitation is expected to be sent to Joyce, as specified by the sanctioning agency. However, the undefeated Brit also suffered an injury while currently serving as the WBO’s mandatory challenger. Since he refused the encouragement, the IBF would then move on Agit Kabayel (21-0, 13KOs), with former unified cruiser title Murat Gassiev and Ruiz ranked behind the undefeated German. Kabayel would be the sanctioning body’s best hope moving forward with such a fight, as he is currently not involved in any other major fights at the moment.

Further down the list is China’s Zhilei Zhang (21-0-1, 13KOs), a strong contender who has spoken out about going up against Hrgovic. However, the two-tour Olympian – who won a silver medal at Beijing 2008 – who will have to wait for the rejections of at least five other heavyweights before him to receive an offer. so.

The process of finding an opponent willing to participate in the title elimination is one of the ways to slow down Hrgovic’s career trajectory. The 6’6” heavyweight was moving at a positive pace, although with his level of competition quickly leveled off due to his inability to get the top contenders in the ring.

Hrgovic has been gunfighting for a heavyweight title since the post-pandemic period, fighting twice in late 2020 in hopes of next reaching the title elimination round. One was sought out with Michael Hunter II, a second-generation heavyweight boxer who ended up moving in a different direction after being unhappy with the terms of a bid that was formerly advertised by Matchroom Boxing gain. Hrgovic has since settled on a winning pairing against undefeated but lesser-known heavyweights Marko Randonjic and Emir Ahmatovic, both of whom have stopped for three rounds.

For now, Hrgovic and his team will be waiting for a heavyweight contender to accept the IBF’s invitation. This process takes three days after receiving the letter of acceptance of the offer. From there there is a 15-day negotiation period before the matter is brought to a bid hearing.

The winner of the final IBF title elimination will then await the results of the upcoming rematch between Usyk and former two-time united champion Anthony Joshua (24-2, 22KOs), which is being considered for spring.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox

https://www.boxingscene.com/ibf-rules-tony-yoka-ineligible-title-eliminator-new-opponent-sought-hrgovic–163582 IBF rules Tony Yoka ineligible for title disqualification, new opponent bought for Hrgovic

Dustin Huang

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