Paris - French heavyweight contender Tony Yoka has been banned for a year for breaking anti-doping rules, his lawyer told AFP on Thursday, adding that the Olympic champion plans to appeal.
The French anti-doping agency (AFLD) "has heavily punished something they recognised themselves was nothing more than administrative negligence," said lawyer Arnaud Pericard.
The 26-year-old Yoka, who won super-heavyweight gold at the Rio Olympics, failed on three occasions between July 2016 and July 2017 to fulfil his obligation to provide the information on his whereabouts necessary for potential out-of-competition drug tests.
Last December, the French boxing federation handed Yoka a suspended one-year ban, but the AFLD, anxious to apply the World Anti-Doping code which calls for a ban of between one and two years, took over the case.
"This is a disappointing decision in light of the circumstances of the case, Tony's remorse and his good faith," the lawyer said, adding that the decision went against fundamental principles of French law.
He said he planned to appeal to the French Council of State.
The AFLD heard the case in Paris on June 20, five days before Yoka's fifth fight, and fifth victory, as a pro. He beat Briton David Allen on a TKO in the tenth round.
Yoka says he is aiming to become the first Frenchman to win a world heavyweight title, a campaign he has dubbed "The Conquest" and for which he last year signed a four-year contract with French broadcaster Canal +, estimated at between €8 million and €10 million.