Undefeated heavyweight Tony Yoka has seen a one-year suspended ban become a reality for previously missing a series of French Authority anti-doping tests.
The 2016 Olympic champion, who defeated Joe Joyce in the final of a hotly-debated outcome, had faced a two-year ban which was reduced on appeal.
Turning pro last year in June, Yoka was tipped as a future world champion and recorded a fifth victory in the paid ranks against Dave Allen last month.
According to a report in L’Equipe, Yoka failed to give several samples, including prior to his December 2017 clash with Ali Baghouz.
There’s no suggestion Yoka is doping at this point, with the twelve month term solely due to non-compliance of the procedures in place.
On the AFLD (French anti-doping) website, it is confirmed that missing three tests or above would result in the punishment dished out to Yoka.
“If the Athlete commits three breaches of any kind during a period of twelve consecutive months, the AFLD shall forward to the competent Federation a statement of offense causing the person concerned to be suspended for a period of between one year (two years, if found to be doping)
“In accordance with the standard disciplinary regulation approved by the sports federations, relating to the fight against human doping (Article R. 232-86 of the Sports Code).
“The regulation in force does not provide for a stay, except in a particular case, that of substantial assistance when an athlete gives information on other cases of doping.
“In this case alone, it allows for a portion of the sentence to be suspended.”
Yoka’s lawyer, Arnaud Pericard previously told L’Equipe the fighter had indeed been punished.
“Tony has sinned for lack of rigor, he assumes and since he has organized much better. It is a problem of form and procedure more than of substance.
“At no time did Tony Yoka attempt to conceal any doping situation, which is what the Federation’s Anti-Doping Commission recognized and notified,” he said.
Pericard has since given an update when saying: “This is a disappointing decision in light of the circumstances of the case, Tony’s remorse and his good faith.”
The fighter himself has also commented on the situation for the first time, by adding: “It’s a professional mistake. There was negligence on my part, especially after the Olympics but there has never been any medication taken.
“I want to bring the first world heavyweight championship belt to my country,” said Yoka.
At this point, Ringstar France are yet to make an official comment on Yoka’s immediate future in the sport. WBN reached out for comment.