Friday, August 18, 2023

Galal Yafai vs. Tommy Frank Takes Centerstage August 19th

Originally, August 19th in the world of Boxing was to be spotlighted by the highly anticipated World Light-Heavyweight championship fight between undefeated champion Artur Beterbiev and former Super-Middleweight world champion Callum Smith. As some know, the bout between Beterbiev and Smith has been postponed to January 2024 due to Beterbiev needing time to recover from recent dental surgery. While that fight was initially one of the highlights of the month of August 2023, a bout that could be described by some as under the radar could prove to be interesting. This observer is referring to the Flyweight bout between undefeated Flyweight contender Galal Yafai and former British Flyweight champion Tommy Frank, which will take place at the Birmingham Arena in Birmingham, England that can be seen globally on digital subscription sports streaming network DAZN. 

While the 112lb. Flyweight division does not always get much exposure, particularly here in the United States, one thing that makes this fight interesting is that it offers a chance for a higher ranking in the World Boxing Council’s (WBC) for the WBC International championship. Although a regional championship may not seem significant to some fans, what makes it significant beyond the reality of a higher position in the WBC rankings is the quick pace in which Yafai has gotten to this fight. Galal, the third in the line of the fighting Yafai brothers following Kal and Gamal, will be going into only his fifth professional fight when he faces Tommy Frank. After a decorated amateur career in which he represented Great Britain in both the 2016 and the delayed 2020 Olympics, winning the Gold medal in the 2020 tournament in the Flyweight division, Yafai turned pro in February of last year and won the WBC International title with a fifth round knockout of Carlos Bautista. Yafai being able to enter a regional championship fight in his professional debut is representative of his Olympic pedigree and though a fighter entering that type of fight out of the box as a professional is certainly a roll of the dice, Yafai has thus far proven to be someone who, despite his limited experience as a pro, is on the verge of challenging for a world title in stopping three of his four opponents prior to this fight. 

Going into this fight, Yafai is rated number fourteen in the WBC’s Flyweight ratings and obviously the longer he is able to hold onto the international title, the more likely his ranking will be elevated sooner than later. It should not have to be pointed out however, that there is a risk with each fight and if Yafai should lose, obviously the expedited pace in which he has entered the WBC ratings will be halted. 

In Tommy Frank, Yafai will be facing a veteran of nineteen fights with a record of 15-3-1, with 3 Knockouts. While Frank does not, or at least has not, up to this point shown much punching power in only scoring three knockouts in his fifteen career wins, what he does have that could be an asset is experience in being able to go rounds and it is important to keep in, mind that as Yafai has been on the fast track so far in his career, he has yet to be tested. Frank however, is coming into this fight off of a knockout loss to Jay Harris where he lost the British Flyweight championship being stopped in ten rounds. Perhaps some might see that as a red flag against Frank, or to be more specific, his capability in being able to provide Yafai with a stern test, but it is something that will only be found out once the bell rings.

This fight will headline a card promoted by Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Boxing's NXTGEN series. While obviously that series, which prior to the COVID-19 epidemic was a fixture on Matchroom's schedule in showcasing some of the young, up and coming talent in the Matchroom stable, obviously it has been a few years since the series has been in circulation. A fight like this however, featuring an Olympic Gold medalist, who seems to be racing towards a shot at a world championship perhaps within the first ten fights of his career, going against a former British champion looking to bounce back, seems like a perfect vehicle to reintroduce the series. 

"And That's The Boxing Truth."

Matchroom Boxing NXTGEN: Yafai vs. Frank takes place on Saturday, August 19th at the Birmingham Arena in Birmingham, England. The fight as well as it's full undercard can be seen globally on digital subscription sports streaming network DAZN beginning at 11:45AM ET/8:45AM PT with Before The Bell, which will feature preliminary bouts. This will be followed by the main card, which will begin at 2PM ET/11AM PT.

(*U.S. Times Only.*)

(*Card and Start time Subject to Change.*)

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