Tony Yoka Agrees to Face Filip Hrgovic in an IBF Heavyweight Title Eliminator
It looks like the search for an opponent to face Filip “El Animal” Hrgovic (14-0, 12 KOs) in an IBF heavyweight title eliminator may be over. Matchroom CEO Eddie Hearn has gone on record saying that Tony Yoka has agreed to the fight, with negotiations currently underway, during an interview with iFL TV.
STEPPING UP TO THE PLATE
“Apparently, Yoka wants the fight. We’ve been speaking to Top Rank about that fight. It’s a brilliant fight, and hopefully we can get that one made.”Eddie Hearn, Matchroom CEO
Ranked third by the IBF, Hrgovic became frustrated with landing an opponent. Former WBO heavyweight champ Joseph Parker and perennial contender Luis Ortiz turned him down. Hearn suggests it was because of fear. He doesn’t understand why they were thumbs down. As he explained, the winner would become the mandatory IBF challenger and face the winner of the upcoming rematch between IBF/WBA ‘super’/WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk and former champ Anthony Joshua.
Kudos go to Yoka for taking the fight. Ranked sixth by the IBF, the former 2016 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist wanted to face a top 15 ranked heavyweight in 2022. He thought it would be against world-ranked Martin Bakole on January 15 in Paris, France. However, it was postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions from the French government.
THESE TWO HAVE A HISTORY
There is a backstory between Hrgovic and Yoka. They fought twice as amateurs, with Yoka winning both times. The second of those victories came in the 2016 Olympic super heavyweight semi-finals.
A fight between the two as pros would pit the aggression and power of Hrgovic against the technical skill of Yoka. “El Animal” has bulldozed through most of his opponents as a pro. On paper, Yoka seems to be more well-rounded and uses the jab to setup his attack. Though he’s more of the pure boxer, he has punching power of his own. Hearn did not reveal how close they are to finalizing the bout, but stay tuned to 3KingsBoxing for further updates.
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By: Michael Wilson Jr.