WBN’s Dan Rafael has confirmed that Tony Yoka cannot fight in an IBF heavyweight eliminator despite initially accepting the offer.
Yoka came into play after Luis Ortiz and Joseph Parker passed on a meeting with Filip Hrgovic to claim the number one spot with the International Boxing Federation.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Frenchman got forced to backtrack on his initial willingness to fight the rugged Croatian.
The 2016 Olympic gold medalist worked his way to the number six spot in the IBF rankings but will have to wait for another opportunity.
Rafael explained why this was the case.
“Per source, [the] IBF issued [a] letter to both camps determining Tony Yoka is unavailable for eliminator vs. Filip Hrgovic for the mandatory position,” the WBN Lead Boxing Contributor stated.
“[This is] because of [a] dispute between Yoka camp and Martin Bakole on if he owes him a rescheduled date. [The] IBF will go down ratings yet again,” added Rafael.
It’s good news for Joe Joyce and his promoter Frank Warren, though. The undefeated Briton, who ironically lost in controversial circumstances to Yoka in the Rio 2016 Final, is next in line to accept the fight.
At seven with the IBF, Joyce is also number one with the WBO. Therefore, he has the dilemma of facing Hrgovic for the IBF top spot when he already possesses a number one position elsewhere.
A win over Daniel Dubois during the pandemic enhanced Joyce’s reputation considerably. He’s now looked at as the number three heavyweight in the UK.
IBF HEAVYWEIGHT RATINGS
1 NOT RATED [Mandatory]
2 CHARLES MARTIN – UNITED STATES [Will get removed]
3 FILIP HRGOVIC – CROATIA
4 JOSEPH PARKER – NEW ZEALAND
5 ANTHONY JOSHUA – ENGLAND
6 TONY YOKA – FRANCE
7 JOSEPH JOYCE – ENGLAND
8 AGIT KABAYEL – GERMANY
9 MURAT GASSIEV – RUSSIAN FEDERATION
10 LUIS ORTIZ – CUBA
11 ANDY RUIZ JR – UNITED STATES
12 DEMSEY MC KEAN – AUSTRALIA
13 ZHANG ZHILEI – CHINA
14 HUGHIE FURY – ENGLAND
15 MARTIN BAKOLE – CONGO
The views expressed in this article are opinions of Phil Jay.
Phil Jay – Editor of World Boxing News since 2010 with over one billion views. Furthermore, follow WBN on Twitter @WorldBoxingNews.