Tony Yoka v Martin Bakole Back On For May 14 In France

Martin Bakole Secures his Desired Matchup with Tony Yoka

Tony Yoka in boxing gear, Martin Bakole with a raised fist
Tony Yoka (left), Martin Bakole

After Petitioning the IBF, Bakole Gets the Yoka Fight He Wanted

It looks like we finally have some clarity as far as who is up next for rising heavyweight contender Tony Yoka (11-0, 8 KOs). All-Star Boxing along with French premium channel Canal+ has announced that he will face Martin Bakole (17-1, 13 KOs) on May 14 in Bercy, France.


The process to make this fight has been a bit of a spectacle. Initially, the two were set to square off on January 15 in Bercy, but the fight was postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions that were handed down by the French government.

Team Yoka then decided to move on and were deep in negotiations for a battle with unbeaten Filip Hrgovic in an IBF heavyweight eliminator. However, Bakole’s camp claimed that Yoka was still obligated to a fight with them. They said that there was written language in the contract that Yoka’s handlers would reschedule. Bakole’s manager, Billy Nelson, then petitioned the IBF that Yoka was not in his right to pursue a match with Hrgovic.

Now, Yoka-Bakole is officially back on. Speaking to French media outlet, Yoka’s co-promoter, Jérôme Abiteboul, said this about the upcoming contest:

(Translated from French) “He’s a world-class opponent, who ultimately corresponds to the plan that should lead Tony to a world final. This will take us to a thirteenth fight, certainly a world semi-final. We’re still on schedule, passing.”


Yoka is a 2016 Olympic Gold medalist, and much has been expected from him since he turned pro. Ranked fifth by the IBF, the Frenchman is a fighter who can box outside but is adequate inside. He stated that he wanted to step up the competition and fight a world-ranked opponent. This is the opportunity he’s been seeking.

 Ranked fifteenth by the IBF, Bakole is neither as technically sound nor as versatile as Yoka. What he lacks in skill, he makes up with his size and length. More importantly, he is hungry for the fight and not afraid of venturing into enemy territory. With Yoka being 6’7” and Bakole 6’6”, this is a battle of true big men. On paper, this shapes up to be a solid matchup.

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By: Michael Wilson Jr.

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About Mike W.2033 Articles
Mike is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a Senior Writer for