Photo Credits: Ben Hoskins
To watch Gamal Yafai in a boxing ring is like watching a surgeon operating on a diseased patient.
Yafai is cool. Calm & dispassionate. The sickness is – you are his opponent.
The cure – are slashing lefts & rights thrown with precision.
Truly, the cure is worse than the disease.
When Yafai stepped between the ropes barely three months ago at the Barclaycard Arena in his home city of Birmingham in the West Midlands to take on fellow Brummie Sean Davis, the WBC International super bantamweight champion Gamal could have been forgiven for finally feeling the pressure of the moment.
He was fighting on the main card. Challenging for his first major title. Taking on a fellow undefeated fighter in a local derby & on the same card as older brother Khalid Kal Yafai.
Instead, Gamal turned in a career best performance,
Gamal beat Sean Davis from pillar to post, targeting the bod early and knocking down the rugged champion six times over seven rounds before the end finally came.
Gamal Yafai is nicknamed The Beast, a nickname that would seem to suggest some kind of wild untamed aggression, the irony then is the clinical fashion with which he’s dispatched men like Sean Davis and 11 other foes to become the #2 ranked Super Bantamweight in Britain.
Second City Son
Gamal Yafai was born on the 4th of August 1991 in Birmingham, West Midlands. However, the Yafai’s family roots stretch south to Yemen on the southern edge of the Arabian Peninsula.
A country with a deep history and rich culture. The country was once called Arabia Felix – Happy Arabia by Roman occupiers for its miles of coast line and verdant landscape that stood in contrast to the desert that occupies most of the Arabian Peninsula.
Now, sadly after more than five years of political and economic crisis Yemen is now called Hell on Earth. Military blockades have cut off access to most necessities and opportunistic pre-industrial diseases like cholera now threaten the lives of more than one million Yemeni children.
Gamal and older brother Khalid were lucky to escape a region that has been torn apart by violence and war for the better part of a generation now.
As is so often the case, boxing would be a way for the precocious Yafai children to find an outlet for their energy and frustration.
Though Yemini by extraction both older brother Khalid, brother Galal and Gamal Yafai were all born on UK soil in Birmingham. Nicknamed the Second City due to her importance historically as an economic and industrial center just behind London, Birmingham has produced no shortage of great British fighters.
However, she has not seen a cadre of brothers as successful as the Yafai brothers since the Turpins – Randy, Dickie and Jackie Turpin from Leamington. The Turpin Family claim to fame of course was Randy’s victory over the immortal Sugar Ray Robinson. The Yafai Bros. likewise wish to make their mark as boxers coming out of Birmingham and in world boxing generally.
Older brother Kal made a splash in to 2008 Olympics in Beijing while Gamal has had success on the world amateur scene as well. Gamal won the silver at the 2007 World Cadet Championships and Bronze in Moscow at the 2010 European Championships.
Gamal resolved to turn pro in late May 2014 and in just three years has amassed a stellar unbeaten record of 12 wins, no losses and five KOs!
Along the way Gamal has already picked up titles. In just his ninth fight Gamal stopped Bobby Jenkins in the 7th round for the Commonwealth Super Bantamweight belt little more than a year ago in March 2016. Gamal defended his Commonwealth title four months later against rugged challenger Josh Wale and Gamal won by a wide points margin on all three judges’ score cards.
Gamal next face Khvicha Gigolashvili a tough Georgian journeyman away from home soil in Germany in a six-round bout to stay sharp in March 2017. Gamal again won handily.
This lead up perfectly to Gamal’s biggest fight so far on his biggest stage so far for the WBC International Super Bantamweight title fight against Showtime Sean Davis on the 13th of May. Gamal began in a measured fashion but did not shy away from engaging with Davis.
Gamal ended up being too fast, too strong and too precise on the night and scored the stoppage win in the 7th round!
Cool as you like.
With that win Gamal gets one step closer to the elite level that awaits him at 122 pounds, a perch currently occupied by none other than El Chacal the Cuban assassin Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Gamal has more learning and evolving to do but one could be forgiven for fantasizing about a potential matchup between the cautious Rigondeaux and the 122-pound version of Anthony Joshua!
The main point of the day however is to congratulate Gamal The Beast Yafai and the tremendous run he’s had in 2017. To shine a light on yet another serious up and coming star coming out of Great Britain – the country that seems to own boxing at present and to wish Gamal Yafai a very happy 26th birthday, today August 4th, 2017.
We are proud of you Gamal, we know your 27th year will be even better!3 min