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Friday, Sept. 10, was a relatively busy day on the European boxing front. The cards that attracted the most interest were staged in Austria and France where rising heavyweight contenders Filip Hrgovic (pictured) and Tony Yoka disposed of overmatched opponents. Someday these two may meet up again. Yoka defeated Hrgovic by split decision in the semifinals of the 2016 Rio Olympiad (and then upended Joe Joyce by another split decision to win the gold medal).

Hrgovic, who aims to become Croatia’s first world heavyweight champion, took apart Montenegro’s Marko Radonjic in the Austrian city of Klagenfurt. Radonjic entered the bout having won all 22 of his previous fights by stoppage, but as we suspected, he was a paleface version of Christopher Lovejoy. The Montenegro man made it to the bell at the start of round four, but the round was barely a second old when the referee decided there was no point in continuing. And there wasn’t.

Radonjic was down five times before the match was halted. To his credit, he kept getting up. Hrgovic, 29, improved to 13-0 (11).

Tony Yoka stopped his opponent, Croatia’s Peter Milas, in the seventh round, advancing his record to 11-0 (9). This was a far more competitive fight although Yoka was never in trouble and gradually seized control. He had Milas on the canvas twice in the seventh round before the bout was called off at the 1:25 mark. Yoka wobbled him with a left and dropped him with a right hand. The second knockdown was the result of a body shot. It was the first pro loss for Milas (15-1) who was making his first start in almost two years. The fight was staged at a tennis complex in Paris.

Other Bouts -- Austria

In the co-feature, John “The Gorilla” Ryder (30-5, 17 KOs) stopped Slovakia’s Joseph Jurko (8-3). The end came at the 1:25 mark of round five.

This was only the second start for Ryder, a rugged Londoner, since giving Callum Smith a tough time in a losing effort in November of 2019 in a fight that proved to be an eliminator for a date with Canelo Alvarez. Ryder is ranked #3 by the WBA at super middleweight but he fought Jurko as a light heavyweight and may choose to stay in that division going forward. Also, Dalton Smith, a 24-year-old Yorkshireman, improved to 9-0 (7) with a 10-round decision over Brian Palaez (10-6), a light-hitting Spaniard.

Other Bouts – France

Two other members of France’s 2016 Olympic team, silver medalist Souleymane Cissokho, a junior middleweight, and bronze medalist Mathieu Bauderlique, a light heavyweight, also appeared on the show.

The 32-year-old Bauderlique, a southpaw, improved to 21-1 (13), stopping Igor Mikhalkin (24-4) whose corner pulled him out after seven frames. A 36-year-old German of Russian descent, Mikhalkin was best known for getting stopped in seven rounds by Sergey Kovalev in his lone U.S. appearance in 2018. Cissokho (14-0, 9 KOs) stopped Ismail Iliev (13-3-1) in four one-side rounds.

This was a good workout for the Senegal-born Cissokho who surprisingly struggled with England’s Kieron Conway in his last start, winning a split decision at Arlington, Texas. Iliev supposedly has another bout on tap on Monday in Dubai.

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