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Tony Yoka Refuses To Give Up HW Dreams, Comeback Set For December 9th Against Ryad Merhy

Tony Yoka Refuses To Give Up HW Dreams, Comeback Set For December 9th Against Ryad Merhy featured image
Tony Yoka is set to return on December 9th against former WBA 'regular' cruiserweight champion Ryad Merhy. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

Tony Yoka appears to be reigniting his competitive spirit as he seeks a comeback after his March 11th loss to French veteran heavyweight Carlos Takam. Despite two consecutive losses in 2022 and 2023, the former Olympic gold champion remains determined and is gearing up to face former cruiserweight contender Ryad Merhy on December 9th at the Rolland Garros venue in Paris.

Entering the professional ranks with an impressive amateur pedigree and high expectations, Tony Yoka (11-2, 9 KO’s) initially seemed on track for world title contention. However, his career took a turn after suffering his first defeat to Martin Bakole (20-1, 15 KO’s) in May 2022, a loss decided by a majority decision.

The subsequent split-decision loss to the seasoned Carlos Takam (40-8-1, 28 KO’s) earlier this year cast doubt on Yoka’s potential for a world title shot.

Undeterred, the 31-year-old French heavyweight is determined to rebound from the setbacks, scheduling a bout against Belgium heavyweight Ryad Merhy (31-2, 26 KO’s), a former world champion at cruiserweight.

Merhy, 30, faced setbacks himself, including a recent loss to South African Kevin Lerena (29-2, 14 KO’s) in May this year. While he secured the WBA title at cruiserweight in 2021, it was the ‘regular’ title, with the ‘super’ title held by Arsen Goulamirian (27-0, 18 KO’s) at that time. Notably, Goulamirian handed Merhy his first loss in 2018.

Transitioning to the heavyweight division in 2022, Merhy stands at a record of 1-1 following his defeat to Lerena in May.

Although both fighters share similar career setbacks, Tony Yoka is likely to be the favorite in the upcoming match against Ryad Merhy, given his amateur achievements and his natural weight at heavyweight. However, he faces a formidable opponent capable of causing an upset if pushed.

With both heavyweights aiming to revive their careers after recent losses, their upcoming bout promises a dramatic showdown. They must deliver their best performances while risking further setbacks, competing for supremacy in an underrated heavyweight matchup that could potentially determine the next legitimate heavyweight contender.