Tony Yoka maintained his unbeaten record with a 12th-round stoppage of Belgium’s Joel Tambwe Djeko in Nantes on Friday night.
The 2016 Olympic champion produced a furious assault midway through the final session at the H Arena that led to Djeko turning his back to the ropes and leaving the referee no option but to stop the bout.
It was the high point of a sound if not spectacular night’s work from Yoka, who claimed the EBU European Union heavyweight title in the process and improved his record in the paid ranks to 10-0 with eight wins inside distance.
Yoka in control
Yoka, who came in at 244lbs (17st 6lbs) never looked in the slightest danger as he controlled affairs right from the start. But he also didn’t look remotely like forcing the stoppage until that frenzied assault in the 12th.
Djeko (now 17-3-1), who was a stone lighter on the night, proved a game opponent but never had the pop in his punches to seriously threaten Yoka.
The unbeaten prospect, who had laboured to a decision against Christian Hammer in his last outing in November, looked much sharper here. He cut the ring off well and used a stiff left jab to set up smart combinations once he had Djeko pinned against the ropes.
That was the gameplan and the end result for most of the evening – Yoka cutting off the ring and setting up those assaults, round after round.
The end for Djeko
By the start of the final session Djeko had swelling above each of his eyes, and Yoka came out clearly with intentions of finally putting his opponent away.
As the bout moved towards its final minute he produced one last onslaught with Djeko pinned against the ropes. A big right clearly hurt the 31-year-old Belgian and as punches rained in, he turned his back on the action.
it put the exclamation point on a job well done for Yoka, who continues his steady rise to what he hopes will be world level one day soon.