Galal Yafai Profile
|Born||Dec 11, 1992|
|Division||Flyweight Limit: 112 Pounds|
The youngest of three boxing brothers, Olympic gold medalist Galal Yafai was always going to be a fighter.
His oldest brother Kal Yafai was a European Championship silver medallist and represented GB at the Beijing Olympics.
He has since become WBA super flyweight champion and at one point was the longest-reigning world champion before losing to Roman Gonzalez. Meanwhile, Gamal was a European Championship bronze medallist in Moscow in 2010.
In the delayed Tokyo Olympics in 2021, Galal went one better than his brothers, claiming gold after defeating Carlo Paalam of the Philippines.
"We used to fight with gloves on from the time I was 8-9 years old," said Galal.
Yet it took him 10 years to choose boxing. Galal developed his talents under Frank O'Sullivan at the Birmingham City boxing club.
And the call for Rio came when he was aged 25. With just six months in the GB programme, he was pretty inexperienced in Brazil and was beaten in the second round.
Then came Tokyo in 2021 and afterwards he signalled his intentions to turn pro.
Yafai told talkSPORT Fight Night: “Definitely, I wanna be a world champion man.
“Even before the Olympics I was dying to go pro."
Gold in Tokoyo
Yafai fulfilled his lifelong dream and became Olympic champion with a brilliant victory in Tokoyo.
The Brit boxed in his trademark aggressive style and earned a deserved split decision victory over Paalam on the scorecards (4-1).
Yafai flew out from the first bell and powerful right-left combination sent Paalam to the canvas early on.
That knockdown helped give him the first round on all the cards.
He won the second round on four of the five judges' scorecards after another aggressive showing. It meant he just needed to avoid a knockout in the third round to secure the title, and he did just that.
Yafai thought about switching to the pro ranks after losing a close contest in the second round in Rio.
"I don't really know yet," Yafai said immediately after losing on a split decision to Cuban Joahnys Argilagos.
"I've enjoyed the programme. I've only been in it a year and I've done some excellent things. All the coaches and the staff, I've got to give big thanks to them. Now I've got to support the rest of the boys."
Yafai lost a close battle with the 5ft world light flyweight champion with two judges scoring it 29-28 to his opponent.
The third judge awarded the bout to the Brit by the same margin, but with Argilagos getting the vote in the first round from two of the judges it proved to be an uphill battle he could not climb.
Argilagos did tire in the final round and a smart right uppercut from Yafai proved the shot of the final round but it was to be too little too late.
Yafai was left shaking his head when the scores were confirmed and told the BBC:"I thought I did enough."
Argilagos went on to claim a bronze medal with Uzbekistan's Hasanboy Dusmatov taking gold.
Yafai was disqualified in his flyweight final against Billal Bennama in Paris in June.
Fortunately, he had already qualified at the Copper Box in March before the event was pulled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Yafai beat Russia's Rasul Saliev by a unanimous decision in London.
He returned to action at Le Grand Dome and was handed a walkover in his semi-final with
Turkey's Batuhan Ciftci who was withdrawn.
Yafai had beaten Koryun Soghomonyan, 28, by a unanimous verdict in the quarter-final - a boxer he will meet first up in Tokyo.
But his gold medal bout ended in disappointment when he was harshly penalised after twice clashing heads with Bennama, a man he lost to in the 2019 World Championships quarter-final. Bennama is also in Yafai's half of the draw in Tokyo.
Yafai wasted absolutely no time in asserting his authority at the Tokyo Olympics, with him easily overpowering Koryan Soghomonyan in his opening bout.
Armenian Soghomonyan struggled to stay with Yafai, who was credited with three knockdowns before a stoppage in the third round.
He followed it up with wins against Zambia's Patrick Chinyemba and Cuba's Yosvany Veitia.
Galal Yafai defeated Carlo Paalam of the Philippines to claim the flyweight gold medal at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo via a split decision win.
One of the five judges scored in favour of the Filipino, but from the moment Yafai crumbled his opponent with a straight left in the opening round the result scarcely seemed in doubt.
The victory capped a series of stellar performances.
Gold on the Gold Coast
Before Tokyo, not surprisingly Yafai rates his trip Down Under as his best experience in boxing to date.
The Birmingham fighter defeated India's Amit Panghal to take the gold medal in Australia's Commonwealth Games.
"It's the tournament I enjoyed the most and being stood at the top of the podium at the end of it just made it even better," said Yafai.
The Brit entered the final in a confident mood having produced back-to-back stoppages in the quarter-final and semi-final.
And the GB man was quickly into his stride, forcing his younger opponent back with incessant pressure in the gold medal bout.
His opponent could not deal with Yafai's forward style and he won a split decision with three judges awarding it to the GB star (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).
One judge made it a draw, while the Chinese official, somewhat kindly, awarded the contest 29-28 to the Indian.
Both of his brothers are professional fighters who are under the promotion of Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Boxing.
Yafai was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2022 New Year Honours for services to boxing.
Yafai is reportedly worth an estimated $1million.
Galal Yafai News
- Aug 10, 2021
- Aug 07, 2021
- Aug 04, 2021