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France’s Tony Yoka completed a romantic Olympic double on Sunday, winning the super-heavyweight title just days after his fiancee had secured her own boxing gold medal.
The 24-year-old from Paris — the first Frenchman ever to win the Olympic super-heavyweight division — outfoxed Britain’s Joe Joyce to claim a split-points decision.
After the victory Yoka sought out his fiancee Estelle Mossely, who won France’s first women’s Olympic boxing crown on Friday.
The couple embraced ringside after he got the narrow win before wrapping themselves in a French Tricolor.
“It’s incredible, this story,” Yoka said. “We dreamed about competing in the Olympics as a couple. And we dreamed about winning medals, or even gold medals. And now we’ve done it. Incredible.”
Yoka revealed he’d received a simple instruction before the bout from Mossely.
“Estelle just said: ‘I’ve done my job, you do yours’. It was my turn. I couldn’t fail,'” Yoka said.
Yoka meanwhile said he was surprised that Joyce had not sought to vary his approach.
“He’s not intelligent. Look at my face,” Yoka said.
“He hit me a lot on the arms, in my gloves. And every time I struck him I hit him in the head.
“Look at the guys on the podium — they are black and blue everywhere. Look at my face, I’m pretty good.”
Yoka said he now plans to follow 2012 Olympic gold medallist Anthony Joshua — the International Boxing Federation heavyweight champion — into the pro ranks.
“I’ve won everything there is to win as an amateur. Four years ago Anthony Joshua was standing in my shoes,” he said. “I can go as far as him, maybe even further.”
Joyce meanwhile believed he had done enough to claim the decision.
“I thought the gold was mine, I’ll just have to watch it again. I was landing shots on him and getting through his guard. He nicked it,” Joyce, 30, a fine arts graduate, told the BBC.
“I gave it my all, got the training right, just disappointed. Silver isn’t that bad but I expected the gold — it just wasn’t to be.”
Joshua, who watched the bout from ringside, said Joyce deserved the win.
“The sky is the limit for him. He is a credit inside and outside the ring.
“I was just praying he would catch him with one punch. The power Joe possesses… he is a phenomenal fighter.”
Joyce made the better start, landing some clumping punches to rock the Frenchman.
Yoka was more mobile but Joyce was packing the greater power in the final bout of the boxing tournament in Brazil.
Joyce was working the body frequently as Yoka seemed sluggish and unable to get his punches away.
The pair were gasping by the third and final round, with Mossely watching anxiously on from the stands.
However, a confident Yoka stuck his tongue out at the Briton seconds from the final bell — confident he had the decision.