Team Bakole On Team Yoka: “People Should Honor Their Contracts”

Filip Hrgovic - Tony Yoka IBF Heavyweight Eliminator on the Rocks?

Martin Bakole steps in between Filip Hrgovic and Tony Yoka
Martin Bakole steps in between Filip Hrgovic and Tony Yoka

Bakole to Dump Filip Hrgovic – Tony Yoka IBF Heavyweight Eliminator on the Rocks?

3Kings Boxing previously reported Tony Yoka (11-0, 9 KOs) had accepted an offer to fight Filip Hrgovic (14-0, 12 KOs) in an IBF heavyweight world title eliminator. Now, a serious roadblock has surfaced that has put the fight in jeopardy. Yoka was to face world-ranked heavyweight Martin Bakole on January 15 in Paris, France. However, the bout was postponed due to new COVID-19 restrictions handed down by the French government.

But, during an interview with ESPN, Bakole’s manager, Billy Nelson, now claims that Yoka is still obligated to fight Bakole. He says that Yoka’s co-promoter, AllStar Boxing and their president, Jerome Abiteboul, wrote that it would be rescheduled for either March 5 or March 12. Fighting on behalf of his fighter and what would be a career-high payday, Nelson feels Team Yoka needs to live up to their word.


“People should honor their contracts, shouldn’t they? The IBF rules are very clear: When you sign a contract, you’re unavailable to fight in an eliminator. He’s trying to start a new life for himself in the U.K. 400,000 Euros goes a long way to helping him and his chances of winning the world title himself.

[…] I think you gotta blame the French promoter purely because we have a contract with them that’s still valid. I just think it was very unjust and unfair that you can even talk to somebody when you sign the contract.”

In addition, Nelson has petitioned the IBF rule Yoka unavailable for a fight with Hrgovic. IBF President Darryl Peoples told ESPN a ruling will be handed down soon.


Hrgovic-Yoka is highly intriguing. Both are world-ranked and talented. Both are eager to test themselves. It’s the continuation of a rivalry that goes back to their amateur days. In essence, the fight would determine who is the best up-and-coming heavyweight in the world.

Unfortunately, this fascinating match is now up in the air while all parties involved wait for the IBF’s ruling. Stay tuned to 3Kings Boxing for further updates.

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By: Michael Wilson Jr.

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Mike is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a Senior Writer for