French Olympian and 2016 super heavyweight gold medalist Tony Yoka will make his highly-anticipated pro debut on Friday, June 2 as he faces unbeaten Travis Clark (12-0, 8 KOs) from Le Dome – Palais Des Sports de Paris and live in France on Canal Plus at 7:30 p.m. CET.
“I can’t wait to step into the ring for the first time as a professional in front of all my fans in Paris,” said Yoka. “This is a dream come true, but it’s also just the first step. I’ve been improving every day in the gym with Virgil Hunter and I can’t wait to show everybody what I’ve got. I know that my team is going to put me into the positions that I want, so it’s up to me to deliver in the ring. It all starts on June 2 and you don’t want to miss it.”
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Ringstar France and sponsored by Unkut Paris, start at 25 € and are available by calling Ticketmaster at 0825 038 039, or visiting www.ticketmaster.fr and www.FranceBillet.com.
“This is truly a momentous occasion to have the 2016 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist making his pro debut in front of his hometown fans,” said Richard Schaefer, Chairman & CEO of Ringstar Sports. “Tony Yoka’s outstanding performance in Rio was just the start of what I know will be a spectacular career. Tony is training with the renowned Virgil Hunter and along with his swagger and personality outside of the ring, he is putting all the pieces in place with an eye towards becoming a huge star in this sport. I’m excited to help Tony reach his full potential and elevate the French boxing scene to the next level.”
“This is a great opportunity for Tony to start his pro career in style and for the French boxing fans to get a look at the next superstar in this country,” said Jerome Abiteboul, President and CEO of Unkut and CEO of Ringstar France. “Tony has all of the elements of a superstar in the making. Combined with the training of Virgil Hunter and the guidance of Richard Schaefer, there is no doubt that he is going to reach his full potential in this sport.”
One of the most exciting stars to emerge from the Rio games, Yoka followed up his 2012 Olympic appearance by beating fighters from Croatia, Jordan and the U.S. Virgin Islands before defeating Great Britain’s Joe Joyce in the gold medal showdown. Now trained by Virgil Hunter, Yoka will look to follow in the footsteps of Anthony Joshua, who went from Olympic super heavyweight gold to heavyweight world champion.
Born in Paris, France, Yoka began boxing at six-years-old and was trained by his father Victor, a former professional boxer in the Congo. The 24-year-old made a splash by winning the French Junior National Championship in 2008 and 2009 before claiming a silver medal at the 2010 Youth World Championships. He continued his rise to prominence by winning French National Championships in 2012 and 2014 while also defeating current heavyweight world champion Joseph Parker at the 2010 Youth Olympic games.
Born in Morristown, Ohio, Clark is unbeaten since beginning his pro career in 2009 with a second round stoppage of Andrew Snow. Now fighting and training in West Virginia, Clark won the state’s heavyweight title by stopping William Shahan. He won three times in 2016 before making his 2017 debut in March with a third round TKO over Branden Lee Hinkle.