Saturday, August 19, 2023

The Galal Yafai Express Rolls On

The story going into the Flyweight bout between 2020 Olympic Gold medalist Galal Yafai and former British Flyweight champion Tommy Frank on August 19th at the Birmingham Arena in Birmingham England was whether Yafai, who entered the bout ranked number fourteen in the world in the World Boxing Council (WBC), could continue on what has been a fast track since beginning his career in February of last year.

Although it is not uncommon to see fighters who are able to benefit from the exposure that the Olympics offers, and to be more specific, those fighters who are able to reach the medal rounds, progress at a faster pace upon embarking on professional careers as compared to those with limited or no amateur experience, Yafai has been able to work his way to a low top-twenty ranking in a world sanctioning organization's rankings in only four professional fights. While Yafai entered the bout unbeaten in four bouts having gone the distance in one of those fights, the question this observer had prior to this encounter was whether Tommy Frank, a fighter with British championship pedigree, would be able to provide Yafai with what would be the first test of his career.

Despite Frank's edge in terms of professional experience over Yafai, it would take the undefeated fast rising contender only a minute and forty seconds to answer that question with an emphatic "NO!" At the sound of the brll to begin the fight, Yafai immediately applied ehat yours truly would call "Suffocating Pressure" on Frank that reminded me of future Hall of Famer Manny Pacquiao in his prime. In that he immediately cut off the ring and swarmed Frank with a near non-stop attack , which sent the former British champion scrambling looking for space.

Unfortunately for Frank, he had no answer and apprared simply unprepared for the type of attack that Yafai put on him. It was not long before Frank would be knocked to the canvas with a short left hook to the head. While Frank was able to get up quickly, it was academic as Yafai continued his relentless assault on his opponent. With Frank pressed up against the ropes with no way to escape, his corner mercifully threw the towel in giving Yafai a statement-making first round stoppage and a successful defense of his WBC International Flyweight championship. 

In previewing this fight and at the beginning of this column, yours truly made reference to Yafai being on a "Fast Track" towards a world championship shot. After this latest performance, perhaps those of us in Boxing media should refer to the track that Yafai is on as a "Train Track" because his performance in stopping Tommy Frank was the Boxing equivalent of a runaway train steamrolling down a track and wiping out whatever is unfortunately standing in the way. While this observer does not partake in deliberate hype tactics, there is simply no other way to describe what happened in this fight.

Although this performance, as emphatic as it was, will probably not move Galal Yafai into a world championship fight in his next fight, he is clearly on track to potentially challenge for a world championship either at or before his tenth professional fight. With five fights to go before fight number 10 for Yafai, the question is if any potential opponent will he able to stand on the track as "The Yafai Express Train" continues barreling down the track in an attempt to stop what has thus far been a runaway train or if it will continue to be full steam ahead as Yafai continues his trip up the 112lb. Flyweight division.

" And That's The Boxing Truth." 

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