Paris, France – Before a packed crowd at Zenith De Paris, Olympic gold medal winner Tony Yoka (2-0, 1 KO) won his second professional heavyweight bout with a six round unanimous decision over Jonathan Rice (7-3-1, 4 KOs). And the three judges scored it 58-56, 60-54 and 58-56.
Yoka had some trouble in the early rounds, but got stronger as the fight played out – and had Rice in some trouble in the sixth and final round. Yoka said the 277-pound Rice was a very big puncher, so he was cautious in the early going.
“He punched really, really hard, so we had to be vigilant. Then, little by little, I felt better and I could even push him back,” Yoka said after the fight.
In June of this year, Yoka turned professional after winning a gold medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics for France. He is trained by Virgil Hunter. Yoka fought and beat Travis Clark in his debut fight at Le Palais des Sports in Paris.
Yoka was a highly sought after amateur, who signed a promotional contract with Richard Schaefer of Ringstar Sports.
Yoka won the gold medal against future WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker in the super heavyweight division at the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics in Singapore. At the 2010 Youth World Amateur Boxing Championships he lost the final to Filip Hrgovic, who just signed with Sauerland Event.
In 2015, Yoka first missed a chance to get the gold at the 2015 European Games but still managed to get the bronze medal. Following this achievement, Yoka won the gold at the 2015 AIBA World Boxing Championships, earning him a spot at the 2016 Olympic Games at Rio de Janeiro.
Yoka won the gold over the British boxer Joe Joyce in the super heavyweight division at the 2016 Olympic Games, getting France the first super heavyweight gold medal of their history.
Before this fight, Yoka had beaten Hussein Ishaish in the quarter-final, and got amateur revenge by beating Filip Hrgovic in the semi-final.