Tony Yoka, the reigning Olympic super heavyweight boxing hero has been banned for one-year after missing three drugs tests within the period of 12-month.
Yoka, who beat Britain’s Joe Joyce in the final at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, was sanctioned by the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD).
The 26-year-old had initially been handed a suspended one-year ban by the French Boxing Federation before the AFLD stepped in to take over the case.
Yoka’s lawyer Arnaud Pericard told Agence France-Presse that the boxer, who has launched a campaign aimed at becoming the first French world heavyweight champion, would appeal the suspension.
Pericard claimed the AFLD had “heavily punished something they recognised themselves was nothing more than administrative negligence”.
The lawyer also claimed the sanction handed down by the AFLD violated French law.
“This is a disappointing decision in light of the circumstances of the case, Tony’s remorse and his good faith,” he said.
“It forgets two fundamental principles of French law, the non-automaticity of sanctions and respect for the principle of proportionality.”
Yoka missed three anti-doping tests between July 2016 and July 2017 after failing to submit the required information on his whereabouts.
Pericard had earlier sought to explain the missed tests, claiming the frist was because Yoka was on a flight to the United States, while the second was because the boxer was unaware that he was still “subject to geolocation requirements” during a “period of relaxation”.
The third was caused by drug-testers turning up at his home in France when he was abroad in the United States, according to the lawyer.
The original suspended one-year sentence caused controversy as the AFLD regulations state that three missed tests warrants a one or two-year ban.
Yoka is free to box abroad despite the ban but claims he is “not interested” in doing so.