Khalid Yafai defeats Israel Gonzalez – RESULTS
By Scott Gilfoid: In a HIGHLY controversial decision, World Boxing Association World Super Flyweight champion Khalid Yafai (25-0, 15 KOs) defeated former world title challenger Israel Gonzalez (23-3, 10 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision on Saturday night in a Matchroom Sport promoted card at the Casino de Monte Carlo, Monte Carlo, Monaco.
This is perhaps the worst decision this writer has seen in ages, and it’s hard to understand how the judges could get it so wrong. Not only did they give the wrong guy the decision in giving the win to Yafai, but they also gave it to him by wide scores on two of the judges’ scorecards. The judges’ scores were embarrassingly bad.
Yafai tried to come on late after he had-butted Gonzalez, but it was no use. Gonzalez had too much of a strong engine. It was nonstop punching from Gonzalez, and all Yafai could do is look to throw an occasional hard shot. Yafai’s cardiovascular system looked horrible tonight. It was all Yafai could do to throw a single shot and then take a long breather. In the meantime, Gonzalez was pounding him at will with shots.
There was a lot of booing by the boxing fans ringside after the scorecards were announced. The fans clearly saw Gonzalez as the winner of the contest. Yafai was very lucky not to be given a lopsided loss, which he appeared to deserve. Yafai was absolutely dominated tonight by Gonzalez, and at best, he deserved two rounds. At worst, Yafai should have lost 11 rounds to 1. He looked sluggish, slow and one-paced the entire fight.
The judges scored it 117-111, 116-112 and 116-112, all in favor of Yafai. Boxing News 24 scored it differently, giving the victory to Gonzalez by a 117-111 score. You can also argue that Gonzalez deserved a victory by a 118-110 score, as round 2, which was one of Yafai’s rounds on Boxing News 24 scorecard, could have easily gone to Gonzalez. He outworked Gonzalez in the 2nd round, as well as all the other rounds of the fight. The only clear round where Yafai appeared to win was the 6th, and that was after he rammed Gonzalez with the crown of his head, opening up a cut. If not for that cut, Gonzalez likely would have won that round too.
Gonzalez appeared to win the following rounds: 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11 and 12. Gonzalez was clearly in command of the fight in the championshio rounds, and had seemingly done enough to win a lopsided 12 round decision. Yafai is promoted By Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport, who was the lead promoter for the card. Gonzalez was the B-side challenger. Unfortunately, being the challenger in boxing frequently means that a fighter needs to do a lot more than just win it decisively by a one-sided decision. He frequently needs a knockout to beat an A-side champion.
“Very sloppy, very sloppy indeed,” said Yafai to Sky Sports. “I’m a bit embarrassed tonight. I thought the scores were a bit wide, but 100 per cent I thought I won. I never made the statement I wanted to.”
Yafai says he thinks he won the fight, but he was perhaps the only one. The boxing world saw Yafai losing by a one-sided decision. The judges arguably made themselves look bad in giving he win to Yafai instead of Gonzalez.
The way that Yafai looked tonight, it would be a bad idea for him to fight former four division world champion Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez. That’s a fight that Yafai and his promoter Eddie Hearn both want to put together, but it’s not a good idea. In looking at how poor Yafai looked tonight against Gonzalez and in some of his other recent fights, it’s no wonder that Hearn has shown no desire to put him in with WBC super flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. Yafai would stand no chance of beating Rungvisai even if the same set of judges that worked tonight’s fight worked that fight. Rungvisai hits too hard, and he’s got that killer instinct that allows him to hunt down and stop his opposition.
All in all, it was a black eye for boxing to see a scorecard like this on a DAZN streamed fight. It’s just too bad things like this has to happen.
Gonzalez, the younger fighter of the two, used his youth, speed and high work rate to get the better of the 29-year-old Yafai. There’s talk that Yafai was weight drained for the fight after struggling to make weight last Friday. Yafai had to strip naked to make weight at 115 lbs after weighing in over the limit on his first attempt on the scales. That sould help explain why Yafai was so listless tonight. But that doesn’t erase the fact that Gonzalez outworked him for the full 12 rounds, and was viewed as the winner. If Yafai can no longer make weight at super flyweight without being drained, then he’s going to need to follow Naoya Inoue up to bantamweight, and try and make the best of things in that weight class. There’s no point in Yafai staying at 115 if he can’t make the weigh without being weakened. The judges gave Yafai a HUGE break tonight by giving him a 12 round decision that he didn’t deserve, but it’s a mockery of the sport if he continues to be given decisions that he doesn’t deserve. The boxing public can look the other way with Yafai getting one controversial decision, but if this becomes the norm for him, it’s going to be bad for his career and bad for the sport. The judges need to be able to score important fights like this in a way that reflects what happened inside the ring, because it does no one any good to have the loser of the fight having his hand raised.
In hindsight, it was a bad idea for Yafai’s promoter Eddie Hearn to pick Israel Gonzalez for him to fight tonight. One could see why Hearn selected Gonzalez. Hearn obviously wanted to show the boxing public how much better Yafai is compared to IBF super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas, who stopped Gonzalez in the 10th round earlier this year on February 3 at the Bank of America Center, Corpus Christi, Texas. Ancajas totally dominated Gonzalez, winning every round with ease util stopping him in the 10th round. It looked to some like Ancajas intentionally stayed in 1st gear for the first nine rounds of the fight with Gonzalez. In the 10th, Ancajas shifted into 2nd gear and knocked Gonzalez out. It looked so effortless on Ancajas’ part. He was barely even trying, and he had Gonzalez badly hurt and he finished him off. In contrast, Yafai was fighting his heart out tonight against Gonzalez, and getting outworked in every round and beaten with combinations.
In other boxing results on tonight’s card:
The highly talented 2016 Olympic gold medalist Daniyar Yeleussinov (5-0, 3 KOs) destroyed Marcos Mojica (16-3-2, 12 KOs) by a 3rd round knockout in welterweight action. The 27-year-old former Kazakhstan amateur star Yeleussinov knocked Mojica down two times in the 2nd round, and then dropped him a third time in round 3 to get the knockout. After just five fights, the southpaw Yeleussinov might already be the best welterweight in Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn’s stable. That’s not a knock out Kell Brook, Amir Khan and Josh Kelly. Those are certainly perfectly fine fighters in their own right, but Yeleussinov is something special. He looks destined for world honors. It’s interesting that Hearn doesn’t talk up Yeleussinov’s career for some reason. Hearn is constantly talking about how great Josh Kelly is, and saying pretty much nothing about Yeleussinov. Kelly was trounced by Yeleussinov in the 2016 Olympics in losing 3-0. None of the rounds were close. If the two of them were to face each other in the pros, its easy to see Yeleussinov stopping Kelly. Of course, Hearn isn’t about to match Kelly against a talent like Yeleussinov. That would be the worst thing Hearn could do. He’s busy trying to turn Kelly into a domestic star right now, and he’s likely going to be matching him against former WBO lightweight champion Brandon Rios in early 2019. As for Yeleussinov, there’s no word Whether Hearn is going to start putting him in with better opposition. Tonight’s fight showed that Yeleussinov is being wasted by him fighting weak guys that well below his talent level.
“I believe in my timing more [than my power],” Yeleussinov said to Sky Sports. “For me, it’s a big show, it was a great opportunity to fight here.”
The comment from Yeleussinov about his power is perhaps a knee-jerk reaction to some of the criticism he’s received this week from pundits about his lack of punching power. Yeleussinov isn’t the biggest puncher, but he makes up for it with his timing and his incredible boxing skills. He’s a very good fighter that is capable of giving anyone in the welterweight division a tough time right now. Yeleussinov doesn’t need years of experience to face the best in the division. He’s capable of doing it right now if his promoter Eddie Hearn will let him.
Light heavyweight Frank Buglioni (22-4-1, 16 KOs) was stopped in the 5th round due to a cut over his right eye in his fight against Fanlong Meng (14-0, 9 KOs). Referee Timo Habighorst hated the fight at 1:58 of round 5. The loss for Buglioni was second in his last three fights. He was getting hit a lot by Meng’s jabs tonight. Once the cut opened, Buglioni’s chances of winning deteriorated straightaway.