The Friday Faceup

WBA super-fly world champion Khalid Yafai
Photo by automaticblogging.com

After all the hype and drama of the heavyweights in the last week and the wait for how and when the title will be unified, this weekend in Frisco, Texas, it’s the turn of the ‘little guys’. British-born WBA world super-flyweight champion (115lbs/8st 3lbs) Khalid Yafai puts his title on the line against Nicaragua’s future hall of famer Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez.

The undefeated ‘Kal’ Yafai (26-0, 15 KO’s) makes the sixth defence of his title against a man who was not so long ago The Ring magazine’s ‘Pound for pound’ king – regardless of weight class, the number one fighter in the world.

Three divisional champion Gonzalez (48-2, 40 KO’s) world came crashing down when losing a tight majority decision in a WBC super-flyweight title defence to Thailand’s Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in Madison Square Garden back in March 2017. He subsequently lost the rematch by a devastating knockout. Since then, and now 32 years old, he could be there for the taking. Yafai, two years the younger man needs this stellar name on his resume to take the next step in his career. The little men age quicker in a professional boxing sense and he will need to make a move to achieve future big fights.

The Nicaraguan with a 90% knockout ratio poses a big test to the Brit. This is both in his superior elite level of competition and also big fight experience. Yafai will have to use all his guile and recent success to prevail. Look for a very close fight where the experience of Gonzalez may just see the title changing hands and further adding to Chocolatito’s legend.

The fight will be televised live on Sky Sports Arena in the early hours of Sunday morning. It is also available on DAZN.

Home defence for Taylor

Yesterday (Thurs 27th) it was announced by Bob Arum’s Top Rank and Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions that Muhammad Ali Trophy winner and unified WBA and IBF super-lightweight world champion Josh ‘Tartan Tornado’ Taylor (16-0, 12 KO’s) will defend his titles against Thailand’s Apinun Khongsong (16-0, 13 KO’s) in Glasgow, Scotland on 2nd May. The Thai looks on paper to provide a very stiff test for the Scot World Boxing Super Series winner. This could be another one to savour.

Mandatories and rematches

Finally, much has been mentioned across media platforms over the last week but the journey to heavyweight unification looks to be firstly; a mandatory defence for Anthony Joshua of his IBF world heavyweight title against once-beaten Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev on June 20th, followed by; a trilogy ending fight between The Ring magazine’s newly re-instated champion and WBC world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, and Deontay Wilder.

It is thought most likely that the American ex-champion will invoke the rematch clause in the remaining 24 days of the contract stipulation. Both headline items still have to receive official confirmation from respective promoters and managers, but this looks to be the immediate heavyweight landscape. This leaves, assuming both Brits retain their titles, a heavyweight unification fight towards the back end of 2020, but more realistically mid-2021.

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