The ringside judges favoured Yoka’s cleaner work over Joyce’s strength and aggression by split decision, and the verdict was greeted by a number of boos.
Joyce had been seeking to emulate his former team-mate Anthony Joshua, the London 2012 champion who was watching at ringside.
But Yoka’s greater accuracy found the favour of the judges, leaving Joyce with little hope in the last round but to press for an unlikely knockout.
Joyce’s style had been derided by Yoka in the build-up to the final, with the Frenchman describing him as a “robot” and questioning his punching power.
The pair had unfinished business after a controversial World Championship semi-final in Doha last year, when Yoka was controversially given the verdict and went on to win the title.
“I’d prefer to be the Olympic champion. I thought it was close [between them] at the World Championships [in 2015],” said Joyce. “I wasn’t as fit that time and I thought this time I was ready to put more than 100 per cent in but I didn’t come away with the gold medal. People remember a gold medallist more.”