Former Olympic champion Tony Yoka looks to get back in the win column when he takes on two-time world title challenger Carlos Takam at the Zenith de Paris-La Villette in Paris, France, on Saturday. The 10-round heavyweight attraction, plus undercard bouts, will be televised by Sky Sports in the U.K. and ESPN+ in the U.S.
Yoka (11-1, 9 KOs) is coming off a 10-round majority decision defeat to hard-hitting contender Martin Bakole in May 2022. Despite one judge incredulously scoring the bout a draw, Bakole was largely dominant and scored heavy knockdowns in the first and fifth rounds.
Takam (39-7-1, 28 KOs) is blurring the line between gatekeeper and journeyman. The 42-year-old veteran has gone 4-4 in his last eight fights, with three of those losses coming by stoppage. Inactivity could be another factor, because Takam has only averaged one fight a year since 2020.
There is no question that Yoka, 30, is the fresher fighter in this matchup. However, the younger man must exercise a degree of caution and avoid being reckless during exchanges. On paper, Takam only has a puncher’s chance, so Yoka would do well to box smart and utilise his advantages in speed and agility.
MORE: All you need to know about Yoka vs. Takam
The main event is backed up by a varied and intriguing undercard. The Sporting News now takes a look at the supporting cast in Paris:
Tony Yoka vs. Carlos Takam undercard
Thomas Faure vs. Dan Azeez
European light heavyweight title fight
Home fighter Thomas Faure (21-4-1, 2 KOs) makes the maiden defence of his light heavyweight championship against the unbeaten Dan Azeez (18-0, 12 KOs).
While Faure is the reigning titleholder, it’s Azeez who has mixed in better company. During his rise, the challenger has scored quality wins over Hosea Burton (TKO 7), Reece Cartwright (TKO 8), and Rocky Fielding (TKO 8).
The power deficit, as well as competition faced, is the reason why Azeez has been installed as a prohibitive favourite to add the European championship to the British title he claimed in 2021.
PROGRAMMING ALERT 🚨@TonyYoka & Carlos Takam will clash in a Heavyweight battle on March 11, streaming live on @ESPNPlus 📲 pic.twitter.com/3xJoz1iahh
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) March 7, 2023
Lauren Price vs. Naomi Mannes
Welterweight non-title bout
Southpaw Lauren Price (2-0, 1 KO) is a former amateur sensation from Wales, who has been tabbed for huge things in the paid ranks.
The former Olympic champion turned professional in June of last year and shut out Valgerdur Gudstensdottir over six rounds. Four months later, Price showcased her power, stopping Timea Belik in four.
Despite Germany’s Mannes (6-1, 4 KOs) coming off a competitive points loss to Kirstie Bavington in a European title fight in November, she has never mixed with anyone of Price’s pedigree.
MORE: Boxing schedule 2023: Dates, division, location for upcoming fights
Farhaad Saad vs. Macaulay McGowan
Super middleweight non-title bout
After two years out of the ring, unbeaten Frenchman Farhaad Saad (8-0-1) returns to action against Manchester’s Macauley McGowan.
Saad has never shared the ring with anyone of note, and all of his fights have gone the distance. However, he’s proven to be defensively adept and quick on his feet.
McGowan (17-3-1, 3 KOs) is best known for falling short against former two-weight world champ and pound-for-pound star Sergio Martinez during the latter’s comeback. The pair met in January 2022, and Martinez, then 46, prevailed via 10 round decision.
News/ 1 hour ago
8-year-old French soccer fan battling cancer ‘shamefully abused’ by rival fans at Saturday match: report
An 8-year-old French soccer fan who is battling brain cancer was “shamefully abused” while...
Basketball/ 2 hours ago
Redrafting the 2018 NBA Draft: Michael Porter Jr. rises in historically good class while Deandre Ayton falls
The 2018 NBA Draft will go down as one of the best of the...
News/ 2 hours ago
For Claressa Shields, Repeat Titles Haven’t Come With Knockouts
Shields’s opponents also play a part. Many pro prospects, regardless of gender, take easy...