Last weekend at Wembley Arena, George Groves made his long awaited comeback to the ring against ‘The Iceberg’, which to be fair was an accurate description for Christophe Rebrasse. The real entertainment however, came in the undercard with Olympic hero Luke Campbell and the Yafai brothers all fighting.
First up was Kal Yafai who started his senior career at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He reached the last 16 but was knocked out of the tournament by Cuban veteran Andry Laffita. He narrowly missed out on qualification in London 2012 but was still named young boxer of the year by BoxRec. Last weekend Kal was taking on Herald Molina for the Inter-Continental Super Flyweight championship and made easy work of it. He knocked Molina down in the first round and again in the 2nd before the fight was stopped. Kal Yafai is a great boxer to watch, he’s fast, powerful and all action, he continually comes forward and really punishes fighters who have any weakness in their defence. Whilst it only lasted 2 rounds, it was still an impressive win.
Kal Yafai’s brother Gamal was on straight after him. Whilst perhaps not as naturally gifted as his brother, he certainly makes up for that in grit and determination. Gamal seemed to get a shoulder injury in his fight and couldn’t throw right hands with any power, instead of letting his opponent know what happened he continued to jab with his left regularly whilst throwing in the odd weak right but still keeping full control of the fight. It showed a cool head under pressure and was a great win even if it was on points.
In the final undercard of the evening we saw Hull’s Luke Campbell, the Olympic gold medal hero of London 2012. In a similar way to Anthony Joshua a week or so earlier, you can really see the difference between a serious pro and a journeyman. Krzysztof Szot entered the ring looking weathered and overweight followed by Luke Campbell with great muscle definition, not an ounce of fat on him and looking about twice the size of his opponent. One thing that can be said about Szot though is that he is hard to knockout. He’s lost his last 6 fights but very rarely gets stopped, so it is a good test for a young boxer. Campbell was on top throughout the fight, he regularly put great combinations together and finally managed to get the referee to stop the fight in the 7th round.
The future looks bright for this group of young British fighters. Luke Campbell in particular looked strong, similar to Amir Khan in stature. He is currently fighting at lightweight but you could see him eventually ending up at Welterweight.