Kalle Sauerland has confirmed to Boxing Social that Tony Yoka is out of the IBF final eliminator against Filip Hrgovic.
Earlier this week Yoka had accepted the challenge to face the man he beat in the amateurs, however a contract dispute involving a postponed fight with Martin Bakolie appears to have ended hopes of it happening.
According to Dan Rafael the IBF issued a letter to both the Hrgovic and Yoka teams informing them that the Frenchman could not take part in the eliminator. The Olympic Gold medallist had been due to face Bakolie this month but Covid-19 restrictions on indoor crowds postponed their meeting. Yoka’s French promoter AllStar Boxing indicated the fight would be rearranged for March, but they then went on to accept the chance to fight Hrgovic.
Hrgovic and his team have spent months trying to get someone in the ring with the unbeaten Croat. Michael Hunter, Luis Ortiz, Joseph Parker, and now Yoka, could not fight for various reasons. This leaves the Olympic Bronze medallist co-promoters Kalle Sauerland and Eddie Hearn with a job to do to find someone to step up and fight for a chance at the world title currently held by Oleksandr Usyk.
As things stand in the current IBF rankings contenders 2, (Ortiz), and 5 (Yoka) are out of the running. Hrgovic is number 3 while Anthony Joshua, who seems likely to rematch Usyk in the coming months, is at 4. By powers of deduction this leaves Joe Joyce at number 6 as the next man in line to be given the chance to fight ‘El Animal’. But the Brit is currently out with a wrist injury and looks unlikely to be back in the ring until April or May. Hrgovic had hoped to fight in March.
Joyce is also the number 1 contender with the WBO. Will ‘The Juggernaut’ risk that position to fight Hrgovic? Should he stay on the WBO path then Agit Kabayel, ranked 7 with the IBF, would be the next man to be offered the challenge of facing the Croat.