Joshua vs Parker sparring: Enter 6'7" Tony Yoka
How does a fighter prepare for a 6'7" opponent?
Answer: He finds 6'7" fighters with a similar style to spar with.
In preparation for his March 31 superfight with hulking consensus champion Anthony Joshua, Joseph parker has been sparring with 6'7" Frenchman Tony Yoka (3-0, 2 KO), who beat Brit Joe Joyce in the amateur ranks.
Team Parker is hoping the 25-year-old’s 6ft 7in frame will pay big dividends in helping him prepare for the taller, thicker Joshua who also boasts a six-inch reach advantage.
So who is Tony Yoka?
Boasting a sweet 82 inch reach and a record of 3-0, 2 KO, Yoka is trained by Virgil Hunter.
As an amateur, he represented France at the 2016 Olympics, winning a gold medal in the super-heavyweight division; he also represented France at the 2012 Olympic Games, losing in the first round of the event, and defeated Parker himself in 2010 when both men were amateurs.
The Olympic win over the highly-touted Joyce four years later would give France the first Super Heavyweight gold medal of the country's history.
Like Joshua, Yoka boasts a strong amateur pedigree so having him in Parker's camp was a wise move because Yoka is, at least to some degree, technically sound and well-rounded. Moreover, the still-green Yoka undoubtedly learned some valuable tidbits while sparring with Parker.
Will we see Yoka in the ring with Joshua and/or Parker in the coming years? And will the goliath heavyweight soon be a force to be reckoned with in heavyweight boxing?