Gamal Yafai fights like a madman and loses his title in upset defeat to Jason Cunningham
In his latest in-ring effort, super bantamweight boxer Gamal “The Beast” Yafai (18-2, 10 KO’s) fought like a rank amateur. As a result, he lost his title to Jason “The Iceman” Cunningham (29-6, 6 KO’s) by way of unanimous decision. Yafai captured the EBU European Super Bantamweight title in his previous bout with Luca Rigoldi.
Yafai went into the bout ranked #10 (IBF), yet he is sure to plummet in the standings. As the younger brother of Khalid “Kal” Yafai, The Beast has sought to blaze his own trail and establish his own legacy. With this performance, he failed miserably to do so.
BULL AND THE MATADOR
The fight got off to a very quick pace and saw Yafai playing the role of aggressor. Unfortunately for him, he was a way too aggressive. Yafai stubbornly came forward and threw his whole body into most shots, allowing Cunningham to enjoy a great deal of success counter-punching. The Iceman was able to consistently touch his chin with sharp jabs, crisp straight lefts and few uppercuts.
Outside of his offensive success, Cunningham made Yafai look quite foolish on a number of occasions by evading shots. During the final minute, he made The Beast badly miss four or five consecutive body shots. Things went from bad to worse in the second round. Yafai was dropped with a counter-straight left down the pipe. Once again, in the final fifteen seconds, Yafai slightly went through the ropes after badly missing with a body shot.
The Beast finally began seeing some success in the third round. Nothing about his style or technique changed, he was still just walking down Cunningham eating shots. The difference this round was the power and Yafai finally finding his range. Behind a whirlwind of nearly exclusively clubbing hooks to the head and body, Yafai appeared to hurt Cunningham. The success was short lived. As he refused to utilize any form of competent defense, Yafai was dropped to the canvas yet again in the fourth. This time, about a minute into the round, a left upper and right cross put him on the seat of his pants.
After an action-packed, fast paced and fairly even fifth round, Yafai was dropped for the third time in the fight in the sixth. Just about a minute in, The Beast was felled by a left uppercut closely followed by a left hook. To his credit, Yafai made it to his feet and fought on in his same, overly aggressive and reckless style. The Beast enjoyed a better seventh round by smothering Cunningham and burying him in an avalanche of clubbing hooks to the body.
In the ninth round, Cunningham appeared to be showing some serious discomfort. The hard-charging Yafai was putting a dent in him with the assault to his ribs. Although, Yafai was very sternly warned for laying on the Iceman’s back. It was probably about the third time he had been admonished for the tactics over the course of the fight. Yafai’s crude attack continued to turn the tide in the tenth. Cunningham began the eleventh in rather dreary fashion and fought like he had sprung a leak throughout the majority of the period.
Down the final minute of the round, however, he landed a number of his own withering body shots and finished the round strong. Both men fought hard but were obviously weary for the first two minutes of the final round. Yet for the last forty-five seconds, Cunningham, believing himself to be up on points, got on his bike and taunted Yafai. When the cards were read, Gamal Yafai lost his title by unanimous decision. The win was a pleasant upset victory for Jason Cunningham.
By: Bakari Simpson