While waiting to finally measure up to the gratin of the heavyweights, it is on the central Roland-Garros, the Mecca of French boxing until the 1970s, that Tony Yoka defends his European Union champion belt, Friday September 10 (start of the meeting at 9 p.m.). A little over six months after his victory by technical knockout in the 12th and final round against Belgian Joël Tambwe Djeko, the Frenchman rubs shoulders with Croatian Petar Milas.

Often mocked for the poor quality of his opponents, the Rio-2016 Olympic gold medalist (29) will not necessarily improve his image by rubbing shoulders with this 26-year-old boxer who has not appeared in a ring since almost two years. Yoka, undefeated in 10 professional fights and now located around 15th place in the world, is impatient and dreams of challenging a Top 10 fighter. But he is currently facing the harsh realities of “boxing business” .

Still too fair for world luck, his obsession since his pro debut in 2017, the 2m heavyweight poses too much of a threat to boxers ranked just above him. A difficult equation to solve and which complicates the search for quality opponents. Which gives the general public the impression of a career struggling to take off.

“It’s been some time since I said I’m ready, explains the French, who prepared as usual in California. I’m waiting for my chance and that I am left to box in front of a name, so that I show that I can beat him. My promoter and manager are trying to calm me down a little bit, but I’m tired of fighting guys behind me. I want top level. Joe Joyce, Joseph Parker, Dillian White, Dereck Chisora: anyone, we take “.

In recent months, Yoka has not hesitated to challenge Joe Joyce on social networks, offering revenge to the one he dominated in the Olympic final. Negotiations were initiated between the two parties but the Englishman finally preferred not to take too many risks against veteran Franco-Cameroonian Carlos Takam (40), defeated in the 6th round by the referee’s judgment on July 24 at Wembley. .

“We are in the career plan that was ours from the start, that is to say to climb a step each time without burning your wings and without wanting to go too fast because it is useless”, assures its promoter Jérôme Abiteboul. “The public would like to see him boxing against Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury but it is not that simple. The next step should be an EBU title (European Championship, editor’s note) within two fights, and we hope for a world championship in its 14th or 15th fight. “

In the absence of a prestigious duel, the Yoka clan still managed to afford an incomparable setting with the Roland-Garros stadium (whose roof will be closed for the occasion). The central usually reserved for tennis saw several big names in boxing pass between 1931 and 1974 (Marcel Cerdan, Carlos Monzon, Jean-Claude Bouttier). More than 8,000 spectators are expected there for this 11th stage of the “conquest”.

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