January 1st will see an interesting heavyweight match-up between Luis Ortiz and Charles Martin, and now, as per a news story from Dan Rafael, unbeaten contender Tony Yoka is set to face countryman Carlos Takam on January 15th, the fight set for Paris, France. Yoka, 11-0(9) was set to fight Martin Bakole, so reports led us to believe, but now it will be veteran warrior Takam in the opposite corner.
Takam, 39-6-1(28) has, as we know, been in with just about everybody – Anthony Joshua, Alexander Povetkin, Joseph Parker, Dereck Chisora and, last time out, when he felt he was stopped in premature fashion, Joe Joyce – and the 40 year old has almost always given a good account of himself. This fight makes sense for Yoka in terms of it being a measuring stick; seeing how he will do with Takam. Yoka, an Olympic gold medal winner, has fought exclusively in France as a pro and some fans feel it’s high time the 29 year old broadened his horizons and gave foreign fight fans a chance to see him box.
But Takam will have to be taken care of first, in what will be a big fight for the French fans. Yoka got two fights in in 2021 – stoppage wins over Joel Djeko and Petar Milas – and he may have a busy 2022. How much has Takam got left and can he give Yoka a really testing time of things? Takam has now been stopped four times (though again, he was/is adamant the referee pulled the trigger far too quickly in the Joyce fight back in July) and Yoka, tall (6’7”) and powerful, might make it five stoppage defeats.
But we know what we can expect with Takam, how he will give his all and how he will let his hands go. If he has got enough left maybe Takam can make things hot for Yoka, as he did for AJ and Chisora before being stopped later on. And Takam does hold a win over Tony Thompson, and he boxed a draw with Mike Perez. Those two fights were an age ago now, however, and are not too relevant. Takam’s most recent win came over Jerry Forrest, who he decisioned in July of 2020.
Yoka is of course the pick to win on January 15, but Takam could make the younger man work for it.