Filip Hrgovic’s fight in jeopardy as rival Tony Yoka may be ‘in a contract’ to face Martin Bakole | Boxing News

Filip Hrgovic’s long wait to secure an opponent has taken a new twist with the news that Tony Yoka, who agreed to fight him, may already be contractually obliged to face Martin Bakole.

Hrgovic had been frustrated in his hunt for a rival to stage an IBF final eliminator, with the winner set to become mandatory challenger for the heavyweight belt held by Oleksandr Usyk.

Yoka accepted the chance, apparently ending Hrgovic’s search, but a previous obligation may now scupper the fight.

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Filip Hrgovic knocked out Eric Molina

Yoka was scheduled to fight Bakole on January 15 in Paris but the fight was postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions – and an existing contract may prohibit him from accepting a different opportunity.

“We are waiting on the final decision from the IBF,” Hrgovic’s promoter Nisse Sauerland told Sky Sports.

“We don’t really understand the situation.

“It is a question whether Yoka has a binding contract or not.

“We will fight anyone – Yoka, Bakole, whoever. We are ready. We want to fight quickly.”

Tony Yoka
Tony Yoka may be forced to fight Martin Bakole

Bakole’s manager and trainer Billy Nelson told Sky Sports that he expects the IBF to rule in their favour, and force Yoka to face them.

“Their rules state that you become unavailable for eliminators if you are in a contract with another boxer,” Nelson said.

Yoka beat Hrgovic in the 2016 Olympics en route to winning a gold medal. They are both now undefeated contenders.

Luis Ortiz and Joseph Parker were previously both unable to face Hrgovic due to injury.

Sky Sports Boxing schedule

Sunday January 30 – Top Rank in Tulsa
Robson Conceicao vs Xavier Martinez – WBC super-featherweight title eliminator
Nico Ali Walsh

Saturday February 5 – BOXXER in Cardiff
Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Williams
Claressa Shields vs Ema Kozin – IBF, WBA and WBC middleweight titles

Saturday February 19 – BOXXER in Manchester
Amir Khan vs Kell Brook
Frazer Clarke’s pro debut

Saturday February 26 – BOXXER and Top Rank in Glasgow
Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall – undisputed super-lightweight titles
Nick Campbell vs Jay McFarlane – Scottish heavyweight title

Saturday March 5 – Top Rank in Fresno
Jose Ramirez vs Jose Pedraza

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